Novak Djokovic’s run down under went belly up Tuesday when Stanislas Wawrinka took down the three-time defending champion in the Australian Open quarterfinals.
Wawrinka, the No. 8 player in the world, needed five sets and a tiebreaker (2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7) to topple No. 2 Djokovic. It was the second classic the duo had played in as many years in the Australian Open.
Djokovic’s 28-match win streak and run of making 14 straight major semifinals came crashing down with the loss.
Last year, Djokovic got the better of Wawrinka in the round of 16. That match, a five-set win, lasted five 5 hours and 2 minutes. Tuesday’s battle went just over four hours.
The fifth-set tiebreaker epitomized the entire match, but it was a sheer stroke of luck that propelled Wawrinka while up 8-7. At 30-30 in the set, Djokovic fired off a tremendous serve that Wawrinka had to fight off.
Wawrinka barely got his racket on the ball, which cleared the net by the slimmest of margins. Djokovic was forced to run up to the net and returned the ball wide. On his next serve, Djokovic hit Wawrinka’s return wide to end the match.
#Djokovic "This is sport, he showed his mental strength & he deserved to win. He knows now how to play on the big stage" #ausopen#Wawrinka