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Australian Open 2014 Day 9: Wawrinka ends the Djokovic streaks

Stanislas Wawrinka at Australian Open 2014
by Alexandra Willis at Melbourne Park
Tuesday 21 January 2014

Wimbledon.com's highlights from the ninth day of play at the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne


Wawrinka’s revenge
Lightning can’t strike thrice, can it? As Novak Djokovic sent Stanislas Wawrinka into the fifth set of their quarter-final for their third Slam in a row, it seemed like it might. The Serb had come back from two sets to one down, that wide-eyed stare on his face that shows he means business. But Wawrinka kept trying, and trying, and in the end...succeeded. He snapped a 14-match losing streak against Djokovic that stretched back to 2006, snapped the Serb’s run of 25-straight match wins since September 2013, snapped the Serb’s run of three straight Australian Open titles that went back to 2010, snapped the Serb’s run of 14 straight Grand Slam semi-finals. It was quite a momentous moment. And it happened so quickly, Djokovic’s attempt to serve and volley on match point back-firing in almost anticlimactic fashion. Wawrinka triumphed 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 in four hours exactly.

 “I cannot just let the match goes, you know.  I don't want to lose every time in five set against Novak.  I had to find solution.  I had to fight within myself to fight against him.

“Tonight I'm going to enjoy with the victory of today because I think it's important.  That's why I play well last year, because I'm enjoying my life, I'm enjoying the tennis.

“I’m really, really, really, really, really happy.”

He deserves to be.

Convictions of youth
Genie Bouchard is young. She hasn’t had time to get complexes about situations. This is all new to her. And so, competing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final, she didn’t shirk from seizing the moment. Beating Ana Ivanovic 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours and 24 minutes, Bouchard advanced to her first major semi-final in such a composed manner that it could have been a first round match on an outside court. Not a quarter-final on Rod Laver Arena being watched by millions. Ivanovic played well. But Bouchard was better. She is the first Canadian into a Grand Slam semi-final since Carling Bassett at the US Open in 1984.

“I felt like my game was there and I just needed to relax a little bit and play,” Bouchard said. “I always believe in my ability. No matter what's going to happen, I'm just going to try my best.  Even if I'm down, I always fight.

“It’s something I’ve been doing since I was five years old," she said, "working my whole life for and sacrificing a lot of things for. So it’s not exactly a surprise. I always expect myself to do well. I’m happy just to have gone through this step. I’m not done.”

Nice girls finish last?
Ana Ivanovic so deserved it. There was not a person in the stands who would not have liked to see the smiling Serb reach her first Slam semi-final since she won Roland Garros in 2008. She didn’t play a bad match, either. Her first serve percentage, return percentage, winners and unforced errors were on a par with her performance in the previous round. But Genie Bouchard was the steadier. And in the end, won the nine more points needed to get over the finish line. Still, making the quarters here, her first last eight at a Slam since the US Opn 2012, should be a real fillip for Ivanovic, proving that she has rediscovered what it takes to mix with the best in the second week. And she will always have the Serena win.

“I felt I was emotionally a little bit flat,” Ivanovic said. “I was lacking a little bit aggressiveness I had in my previous matches. Obviously I’m very disappointed to lose in this manner. It’s something to learn from and move on.

“If the beginning of the summer someone told me this would be the outcome of it, I would agree to it. I had some really good wins, some very emotional wins, and a lot of positive things came out of it.

“It’s about working hard and being consistent. I felt very, very proud and happy about the way I was playing. I see very bright year.”

No nonsense
It seems Li Na is quite happy to exist without drama, for the moment, anyway. The two-time finalist blitzed past Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-2 in the battle of the 31-year-olds, taking just over an hour to reach the last four. With no Serena waiting to greet her, she will be quietly confident of making her second final in a row at Melbourne Park, and perhaps wondering whether that third final might lead to a first title. But she is also very careful to take each match as it comes, and she has a healthy appetite for perversity too.

“I think everyone want to win the Grand Slam.  But first you have to be semis, right?” Li said. “Yeah, I was really happy.

“I think I prepare for at least like one and a half day to prepare for this match.  I know she was a tough opponent because I was play her four time.” 

Shut down
Tomas Berdych out-hit David Ferrer, the only way to beat the eternal Spaniard, prevailing 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. In his first win on Rod Laver Arena, the seventh seed joined Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and of course Roger Federer as the only players to reach the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams. Some company.

In doubles
Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci, the top seeds, survived a fightback from Cara Black and Sania Mirza to reach the semi-finals, and will next face Kveta Peschke and Katerina Srebotnik, who beat Jarmila Gajdosova and Alja Tomljanovic. In the bottom half of the draw, Ekaterina Makarova & Elena Vesnina will line up against Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears, the all-Russians beating Czechs Hlavackova and Safarova, the Americans beating Shahar Peer and Silvia Soler-Espinosa.

Brit watch
Dom ‘the bomb’ Inglot exited the men’s doubles quarter-finals, alongside Treat Huey, as the 15th seeds went out to Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen, who conquered the Bryan brothers yesterday. Daniel Nestor & Nenad Zimonjic won their quarter-final too.

But Katie Boulter and Isabelle Wallace both advanced to the last 16 of the girls’ singles.


Strange stat
The last five players to beat Serena at the Australian Open all lost in next round: Ivanovic, Stephens, Makarova, Jankovic, Hantuchova

Tweet of the day
“Bouchard got a lot of poise for a 19 yr old. Impressive. Berdych shirt and pants combo is awful...”

Dirk Nowitzki, the NBA basketballer, is a tennis fan.

Quote of the day
“I'm not eat pasta before the match because I didn't want my legs feeling like pasta.”
Li Na.

Photo of the day

Wawrinka hits the ice bath

Video of the day

Judy Murray explains why Andy Murray always stops for autograph hunters

What to watch on Wednesday

11am Simona Halep (11) v Dominika Cibulkova (20)
FB Agnieszka Radwanska (5) v Victoria Azarenka (2)
NB 2pm Rafael Nadal (1) v Grigor Dimitrov (22)

7pm Andy Murray (4) v Roger Federer (6)
FB Jarmila Gajdosova & Matthew Ebden v Rohan Bopanna & Katarina Srebotnik (2)

NB 12.30pm Leander Paes & Radek Stepanek (5) v Nicholas Mahut & Michael Llodra (13)
FB Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci (1) v Kveta Peschke & Katarina Srebotnik (4)
FB Zheng Jie & Scott Lipsky v Anabel Medina Garrigues & Bruno Soares (5)


For all the reports and results from Melbourne Park, visit the Official Australian Open website

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