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Wawrinka completes Italian job to reach Australian Open quarter-finals

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 22/1/17 Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka reaches for a shot during his Men's singles fourth round match against Italy's Andreas Seppi. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - 22/1/17 Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka reaches for a shot during his Men's singles fourth round match against Italy's Andreas Seppi. REUTERS/Issei Kato

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Stan Wawrinka's campaign for a second Australian Open title stepped up a gear on Sunday as the hard-working Swiss fended off Italian journeyman Andreas Seppi 7-6(2) 7-6(4) 7-6(4) to reach his fourth quarter-final at Melbourne Park.

The 2014 champion has done it tough in the opening week, but despite the tight scoreline, he was rarely threatened by 89th-ranked Seppi on a sunny afternoon at Margaret Court Arena.

With top seed Andy Murray crashing out only minutes before the win, Wawrinka's chances of grabbing a fourth grand slam title have been given a huge boost and he is now the highest seed in the top half of the draw.

Wawrinka next faces Dan Evans or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the semi-finals.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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