Australian Open 2020: Stan Wawrinka beats Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller to reach the quarter-finals
- This was the fifth time that Wawrinka managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
What's the story?
Wawrinka has bounced back strongly from the brink of retirement post two surgeries on his left knee. His world ranking plummeted after a long absence from the Tour but quarter-final finishes at the 2019 French Open and the 2019 US Open helped him rise to the 15th rank.
Earlier at the 2020 Australian Open, the Swiss ace defeated Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur in the first round before edging past Italy's Andreas Seppi in the next round.
Wawrinka, seeded 15th in the tournament, progressed to the fourth round after his third round opponent John Isner retired in the middle of the match.
The 2014 Australian Open winner was up against Medvedev in an all-important pre-quarterfinal. Prior to this meeting, Medvedev had defeated Wawrinka in both their Grand Slam face-offs.
The heart of the matter
Wawrinka began proceedings confidently and displayed some of his best tennis in the first set, winning it 6-2 in 34 minutes. However, Medvedev faught back brilliantly in the second set and won it 6-2. The Russian ace displayed his wide array of groundstrokes as he broke into the lead by winning the third set 6-4. His service was also causing a lot of problems for Wawrinka.
There was a nerve-wracking duel in the fourth set with Wawrinka playing some of his best tennis shots in a while. The crowd was left short of breath after the scintillating exchanges and rallies between the two. Eventually, it was the more experienced player who prevailed and won the fourth set 7-6 (7/2), leveling the match at 2-2.
Wawrinka came into his own in the fifth and final set. The Lausanne-born player broke opening serve and was quick to take a 3-1 lead. The frustration was evident on the face of the Russian, who is otherwise unflappable in such tight situations. Eventually, Wawrinka won the deciding set 6-2 to secure a berth in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. The five-set thriller lasted three hours and 25 minutes.
An elated Wawrinka reflected his thoughts to ATP after the win:
"That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere. It was really tough to play against Daniil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is always something special here in Australia. I’m finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I’m happy with the result."
This was Wawrinka's 300th win on the Tour level overall. With this triumph, the Swiss ace has now entered his 18th Grand Slam quarter-final.
Medvedev will be taking on either Andrey Rublev (17th seed) or German ace Alexander Zverev (seventh seed) in the quarter-final in Melbourne.