Novak Djokovic might have wanted a tough test to get in tournament shape, but no one thought it would be this third round match of the Australian Open. The world no. 1 held on in a battle of survival to outlast Stanislaw Wawrinka 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 12-10 in a battle lasting 5 hours.
Wawrinka of Switzerland does not have a record that would indicate he could play up to Djokovic’s level. It was back in 2006 when Wawrinka recorded his one victory against the Serb who went on to win the next ten encounters.
Add in that Wawrinka 27, has never progressed past a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam and has never beaten a No. 1 anywhere in 11 previous attempts. Today was not that day, but Wawrinka came very close.
Credit must be given to Wawrinka, the 15th seed, who had Djokovic on the run from corner to corner. Roger Federer’s fellow Swiss was aggressive from the beginning and used a variety of strategies to keep Djokvic guessing.
In the end, Djokovic summoned his inner spirit of a champion and held on long enough to get the victory.
"He deserved equally to be a winner of this match," Djokovic said, "I give him a lot of credit. He has all my respect. He was the aggressive player on the court. I was just hanging in there trying to fight."
Next up for Djokovic in the fourth round is Czech Tomas Berdych, the fifth seed of the tournament.
Djokovic has now reached a major quarterfinal for the 15th consecutive time that places the 25 year old behind Federer and Jimmy Connors. The Serb is trying to be the first man in the open era to win three consecutive Australian Open championships.
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