Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates defeating Stanislas
Wawrinka of Switzerland in their men's singles match at the
Australian Open in Melbourne. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz
Novak Djokovic survived an almighty scare from an
inspired Stan Wawrinka in a five-hour, five-set thriller at the
Australian Open, reaching a 15th consecutive grand slam
quarter-final but only after digging himself out of a huge
For the first 50 minutes of the contest, Wawrinka played as
if possessed by his compatriot Roger Federer and confounded
the world number one with brilliant backhands and ferocious
forehands to notch up five straight breaks of serve.
Even when Djokovic had weathered the worst of the storm and
clawed his way back from 6-1 4-1 down to win the second and
third sets, the world number 17 made the Serbian earn every
point and forced a decider after a dramatic tiebreak.
The Swiss blew four precious break points in the ninth game
of the fifth set and Djokovic converted his third match point
with a brilliant backhand winner to seal a 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7
In a conscious echo of his win over Rafa Nadal in last year's
nearly six-hour final on Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic ripped off
his shirt and roared in delight at a victory which kept alive
his hopes of a third successive title at Melbourne Park.
"We are only halfway through the tournament but it felt like
a final to me," said Djokovic, who will meet fifth seed Tomas
Berdych in the next round.
"He deserved equally to be a winner of this match. Tonight he
showed his qualities. He was the aggressor on the court and I
was just hanging in there trying to fight.
"I always believed I could win the match and I am absolutely
thrilled to be in the next round. It certainly brings back
memories of last year with Rafa."
Wawrinka, who left the court with tears in his eyes, was
distraught after coming up short despite playing the match of
"I think it's the best match I've ever played," he said. "At
the end I was really close and I was really sad to lose, it
was a great disappointment for sure."
In the women's draw it was business as usual as Maria
Sharapova progressed with brutal efficiency to reach the last
eight having lost just five games all week - an Australian
Agnieszka Radwanska continued her perfect start to the year
with her 13th successive victory to set up a quarter-final
with Li Na, while David Ferrer eased further into the gap in
the draw left by his injured compatriot Nadal.
Injury-hampered fifth seed Angelique Kerber crashed out,
however, and she was joined at the exit by men's eighth seed
Janko Tipsarevic, who retired from his tie with a foot
problem after spending more than 11 hours on court in his
Sharapova has achieved her four wins in just 249, earning
more than $1,000 a minute given the $250,000 purse for
The second seed was held up briefly when her serve deserted
her in the first set but she still hammered Belgian Kirsten
Flipkens 6-0 6-1 to set up a repeat of last year's last eight
clash with compatriot Ekaterina Makarova, who upset Kerber
"I didn't start the match really great (but) then I started
really getting under the ball and being aggressive and just
had a little bit more energy," Sharapova said.
Ferrer has reached the quarter-finals for the third straight
year with much less hoopla than Sharapova but with almost as
On Sunday, he prowled the baseline of the Rod Laver Arena to
great effect and ended the challenge of error-prone Japanese
Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-1 6-4.
"It's very important to get to the second week not feeling
too tired and in good physical condition," said Ferrer, who
will face Nicolas Almagro in an all-Spanish quarter-final.
Fifth seed Berdych had said playing big-serving South African
Kevin Anderson would be like facing himself but the contest
only really came to life in an epic third-set tiebreak, which
the Czech won 15-13 to claim a 6-3 6-2 7-6 win.
Radwanska made four unforced errors to 34 for Ana Ivanovic in
their fourth round tie and sealed a 6-2 6-4 rout of the
former world number one with her seventh ace.
"She's a player, it's no secret, who doesn't make too many
winners, but she has good hands," said Serbian Ivanovic. "She
can really get the opponents to feel a little awkward and
make you go for too much."
Li converted all five of the break points she earned in her
7-6 6-1 win over Julia Goerges to reach the last eight of a
grand slam for the first time since she won the French Open.
"I'm really looking forward to the quarter-final," said the
Chinese, a losing finallist here two years ago. "It's been
1-1/2 years. I kept losing in the fourth round so for me it
was a very important match today."
Almagro was the beneficiary of Tipsarevic's retirement.
"That's not the way you want to win," said the 10th seed, who
was leading 6-2 5-1 when the Serbian decided he could not