Wawrinka overcomes Djokovic in a thriller match, plays Berdych in Australian Open SFs

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Stanislas Wawrinka

In the match that promised to have all the ingredients of a classic, on-form Stanislas Wawrinka did everything to upset the four-time Australian Open conqueror Novak Djokovic. The defending champion, who held an impressive 17-2 head-to-head record prior to the quarter-final clash, was the first to produce a break point in the fifth game of the opener – he took advantage of the opportunity and ultimately closed out the opener with the second break of the set.

Eighth-seeded Swiss upped his game in the set number two where he wasted a triple break point in the third game before finally converting in the seventh one to break the deadlock. He turned in the set point number one to level the terms. Stan continued to frustrate Nole in the third set where he went two breaks clear by 5-1 and served out the set without any difficulties a couple of games later.

The spectators on Rod Laver Arena were in for a nerve-shredding fourth set where the Lausanne native came through a long service game at 3-2* and squandered a 40-0 advantage a few minutes later after making some poor decisions and missing crucial shots. Novak’s defensive skills were working like a charm at that point, whilst he added three aces in the follow-up game to force a decider.

The second seed Serb made a breakthrough early in the final set, yet his rival bounced back immediately to make it 2-2 and consolidated the break by hitting his twelfth ace. From there on the set progressed on serve and started to resemble the last year’s thrilling finish of their round of 16 showdown. The drama was reaching its peak after Novak lost the battle at the net and gifted the opponent a match point with exactly four hours gone – the epic match was over one rally later as the reigning champ misplaced a volley. End result: 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7. Wawrinka smashed 17 aces to Djokovic’s 7 en route to his first Melbourne semi-final.

Seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych started the encounter with David Ferrer in a great fashion as he first escaped to 3-0 before creating a double break cushion by 5-1. The second set point did the trick for the Czech who was up to the task in the following set as well. While he failed to confirm the initial break, he grabbed another one straight away to eventually move two sets up. The third seed Spaniard came stronger into the following set where he rescued three break points at 2-2 before completing a four straight games run and stealing a couple of Berdych’s serves in the process. Both players had their chances in the fourth set, yet the Czech was again more consistent and succeeded to put the match to bed with slightly more than three hours on the clock. He won 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to reach his debut Australian Open semi-final.

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