Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Djokovic Pushed to Limit for Win; World Number One Beats Wawrinka in Epic Game

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Djokovic Pushed to Limit for Win; World Number One Beats Wawrinka in Epic Game

Article excerpt

WORLD number one Novak Djokovic kept his hopes of a third successive Australian Open title alive with an extraordinary defeat of Stanislas Wawrinka.

Djokovic came through 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 12-10 in five hours and two minutes of absorbing tennis against an opponent who was inspired.

Having withstood an early Wawrinka barrage it seemed the momentum had turned in the Serbian's favour when he claimed sets two and three.

But back came Wawrinka to win the fourth in an epic tie-break to take it to a decider which could have gone either way until Djokovic finally made the breakthrough with the match finishing at 1.43am local time.

"It's really hard to find the words to describe the feeling we had tonight, especially in the fifth set," said Djokovic.

"He equally deserved to be a winner of this match. I give him a lot of credit, he has my respect. He showed his quality and was the aggressive player on the court."

Djokovic came through some nervous moments, none more so than when he found himself a set and 5-3, 30-0 down with Wawrinka closing in on a commanding lead.

But the Swiss got edgy, coughing up three unforced errors which gave Djokovic a route out of trouble and he gleefully accepted. The momentum was firmly with the Serbian and he broke again for 6-5 before levelling the match on his own serve.

"Even at a set and 5-3 down I believed I could come back," Djokovic said.

"I was just being outplayed by my opponent. In those circumstances when you are not playing the way you want to play, you just try to fight and hope for the best."

To that point it had been all Wawrinka, the 27-year-old blasting winner after winner from all parts of the court, with his single-handed backhand particularly venomous.

Djokovic, who has now won 18 consecutive matches in Melbourne, had no answer. …

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