The pick of the fourth round matches in the men’s draw undoubtedly has to be that between defending champion Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka. The match is a repeat of the 2016 final here, where Wawrinka put in an incredible performance to stun the Serbian for his 3rd slam.
A bunch of early exits have punctuated Wawrinka’s slam record since his injury troubles began so he will pleased to get a fourth round run in the book here. He made harder work of Paolo Lorenzi than expected, despite beating the Italian in straight sets. He faced 0-40 at 4-4 in the opener and faced set point in the second set of his 6-4 7-6 7-5 victory as the veteran gave it his toughest shot following two five setters in the previous rounds. “It was a good battle on the court… I’ve done some better things on the court, but I was really happy fighting well, moving well. I’m really happy to get through that one,” Wawrinka said.
There were concerns over Djokovic and a shoulder injury he may have picked up in the previous round but he showed no signs of trouble in his comfortable win over Denis Kudla, always coming up big on the key points in his 6-4 6-3 6-2 win over the American. Djokovic didn’t practice before the match but his update on the shoulder suggests things are going okay. “It’s almost pain-free. Has a little bit of pain, but I’m really pleased with the way it went.” he said.
Djokovic and Wawrinka in best of five tennis at a slam has been a recipe for an instant classic in the past, with the pair having great matches at all of the slams except for Wimbledon. ”We had some great battles over the years everywhere, but particularly here. I lost to him the last time we played on this court, He’s someone that possesses a game with a lot of power and quality. He’s a great guy. We practice together a lot, so may the best man win.” Djokovic said. Wawrinka will be hoping to roll back the years and take it to the World No.1 but whether he has the capability to do so at this stage of his career will be in doubt.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in four sets