Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic has been upset in a dramatic five-setter against Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open quarterfinals, ending his 25-match winning streak at Melbourne Park.
Wawrinka lost 14 straight head-to-heads to Djokovic before Tuesday night’s 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 win in four hours on Rod Laver Arena.
Djokovic beat Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in a 5-hour, 2-minute fourth-rounder here in 2013, and also edged him in five sets in the US Open semifinals.
This time, it was Wawrinka’s turn. He’s into the semifinals at a major for just the second time.
“Uh, last year I finished it was really tough but this year I came back it was a new year,” Wawrinka said. “I tried everything. He’s an amazing champion. He never gives up. I’m really, really, really, really, really, really happy.”
This one took exactly four hours, and featured some stunning rallies. Both players were amazed at some of the shots coming back from the other side. The match even included a five-minute rain delay with Wawrinka serving at 5-5 in the fifth.
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.
Following after an early exchange of breaks in the fifth, Djokovic had to constantly serve to stay in the match and the pressure finally told.
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, his first defeat since the US Open loss to Rafael Nadal and ending a 28-match winning streak.
“He took his opportunities. He deserved his big win today,” Djokovic said. “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.”
Wawrinka will next play Tomas Berdych, who beat David Ferrer 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.