Stanislas Wawrinka takes Novak Djokovic to 22-game fifth set before losing
MELBOURNE, Australia -- The opponent was different, the match three rounds earlier. Still, the result gave Novak Djokovic a familiar feeling, and another chance to rip off his shirt in celebration.
Top seed Djokovic needed a little more than five hours to beat Stanislas Wawrinka, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 12-10, in a fourth-round match last night at the Australian Open, on the same court where he needed 5:53 to beat Rafael Nadal in last year's final.
"I just had a flashback of 2012," Djokovic said. "It was maybe 45 minutes less this match than the one 12 months ago, but it was still as exciting. I tried to enjoy the moment and couldn't ask for more. What a match point . . . unbelievable."
He wasn't exaggerating about the match point. On his third attempt to end it, his backhand cross-court shot zipped past the valiant Wawrinka, who, Djokovic conceded, had outplayed him for most of the night.
Wawrinka, who had been receiving treatment to his upper leg muscles from late in the fourth set, said he would take more positives than negatives out of the match.
"For sure, I think the best match I have ever played," Wawrinka said. "I fought like a dog like always."
Djokovic will next play No. 5 Tomas Berdych, who needed five match points in the tiebreaker before beating South Africa's Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (13).
Earlier Sunday, Maria Sharapova advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kirsten Flipkens. Sharapova has lost just five games through four rounds, and next plays fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who beat fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber, 7-5, 6-4. Li Na, who reached the final here in 2011 and won the French Open later that year, saved a set point in the tiebreaker before beating Julia Goerges, 7-6 (6), 6-1. She'll play No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska.
Early today, top women's seed Victoria Azarenka advanced with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina. Svetlana Kuznetsova was given a time warning during a changeover but defeated former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.