Novak Djokovic's three-year reign at the Australian Open came to an end on Tuesday, when the Serb lost in five sets to Stan Wawrinka in the quarter finals.
Djokovic had won 25 consecutive singles matches at Melbourne Park, 28 straight in all competitions and 14 in a row against Wawrinka before the Swiss won, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7, on Rod Laver Arena.
Last year, Djokovic held off Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in the fourth round after in a 5-hour, 2-minute battle that was the longest Grand Slam match of the season; Djokovic also edged Wawrinka in five sets in the U.S. Open semi-finals in September.
This time, it was Wawrinka's turn. He's into the semi-finals at a major for just the second time.
“I tried everything,” Wawrinka said. “He's an amazing champion. He never gives up. I'm really, really, really, really, really, really happy.''
This one took exactly four hours. There were some stunning rallies with even the players seeming amazed at some of the shots coming back from the other side of the net.
Djokovic frequently held up and pinched his thumb and forefinger together to show how close the shots were to either hitting or missing the lines.
After an early exchange of breaks in the fifth, Djokovic had to constantly serve to stay in the match and the pressure finally told.
"I gave it my all"
After all the superb shot making, it was a mis-hit from Wawrinka on a service return that set up match point. Djokovic chased it to the net but skewed his cross court drop shot too wide. He missed a volley on match point.
“He took his opportunities,'' Djokovic said. “He deserved his big win today. There's nothing I can say. I gave it my best, I gave it my all. It wasn't to be this time.
“He showed his mental strength and he deserved to win. The only thing I can say is congratulations.''
In the semi-finals, Wawrinka will play seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych, who also reached his first Australian Open semi-final when he beat No. 3-seeded David Ferrer 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
On the women's side, 19-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard reached the semi-finals in her first trip to the Australian Open, beating Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 to set up a showdown with two-time finalist Li Na.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)
Date created : 2014-01-21