Djokovic survives Wawrinka, advances to Australian quarterfinal round
Melbourne, Australia (4E Sports) – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic kept his campaign for a third consecutive Australian Open title going with a hard-earned 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(5), 12-10 victory over Stanislas Wawrinka Sunday to book a spot in the quarterfinal round.
“It was one of the longest, most interesting, and most exciting matches I played in my career,” said Djokovic, who needed five hours to dispose of Wawrinka.
Djokovic is no stranger to five-set drama at Melbourne Park, having beaten Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in thrilling contests to win the 2012 title.
Wawrinka stunned Djokovic when he took the first set and was leading the second, 5-2, when Djokovic launched his comeback and took the next two frames.
The Swiss tennis player bounced back, taking the fourth set and put Djokovic in trouble early in the fifth set.
However, Djokovic rallied from an early break down to take a 2-1 lead before eventually finishing the match with a backhand winner after a 20-shot rally.
Djokovic next faces world No. 6 Tomas Berdych for a spot in the semifinal round.
Berdych made it the quarterfinal round of the event for the third year in a row, beating Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(13).
Berdych took the first two sets in just 78 minutes but met a tough challenge from Anderson in the third set, needing 88 minutes to finish the American.
In other matches, world No. 5 David Ferrer advanced to his fifth consecutive major quarterfinal, eliminating 16th-seeded Kei Nishikori, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
Ferrer broke Nishikori seven times in 11 opportunities to move past the Japanese top player in two hours and 10 minutes.
Ferrer will take on 10th-seeded countryman Nicolas Almagro, who was leading No. 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic, 6-2, 5-1, when the Serbian retired with a jarred heel.
On the women’s side, fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska defeated 13th seed Ana Ivanovic, 6-2, 6-4, to advance in the quarterfinal against Li Na.
The No. 6 Li, for her part, defeated 18th seed German Julia Goerges, 7-6(6), 6-1 to make it to the quarterfinal round of a Grand Slam event after six failures.
Second seed Maria Sharapova also made it to the next round after an easy 6-1, 6-0 win over Kirsten Flipkens.
Sharapova will next play fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who eliminated fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber, 7-5, 6-4.