Wawrinka and Djokovic embrace after their five-set marathan last year. Image courtesy of abc.net.au
A relatively comfortable passage into the quarter-finals, has allowed Stanislas Wawrinka to conserve energy for his much-anticipated battle against defending champion Novak Djokovic .
The chances are he’ll probably need those reserves if he’s to cause a huge upset. Last year the world number 8 and ‘Djoker’ staged an epic five-set marathon which saw them slug it out for more than five hours. On that occasion, Djokovic got up 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 12-10 . The two also staged another five-set cliff-hanger at last year’s US Open.
But for all his endeavour, Wawrinka hasn’t beaten the Serb since 2006. In fact, his overall record against ‘Djoker’ is no laughing matter – just two wins from 19 encounters. These stats indicate it will take something special from Wawrinka to upstage the four-time Australian Open champion who hasn’t dropped a set on the way to his seventh straight quarter-final appearance at Melbourne Park.
Wawrinka can hardly complain he’s been over-taxed to get this deep into the opening grand slam of the year. In the first round, his Kazakh opponent Andrey Golubev retired in the second set. The Swiss ace then received a walkover in the third round after Canadian Vasek Pospisil withdrew because of a back injury.
In his four matches thus far, Djokovic has started at unbackable odds disposing of Italian Fabio Fognini, Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin, Argentine Leonardo Mayer and Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko. The world number two is popular in Melbourne and will have plenty of support as he shoots for his 29th consecutive victory dating back to last year’s US Open final where he lost to Rafael Nadal.
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