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Tennis News • Stan Is The Man Once Again In Melbourne, Joins Nadal, Thiem, And Zverev In Quarters

By Ricky Dimon

Stan is quite simply the man at the Australian Open.

No, he is not a seven-time champion in Melbourne like Novak Djokovic. And yes, he has also captured Grand Slam titles at the French Open and U.S. Open. But there’s just something special about Melbourne for Stan Wawrinka.

Wawrinka, the 2014 winner and two-time semifinalist thereafter, was up to his usual tricks Down Under while engineering a 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 upset of No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev on Monday evening. The 34-year-old Swiss booked a spot in the Aussie Open quarterfinals for the fifth time in his career after three hours and 24 minutes.

As for Medvedev, he remains without a five-set victory in his career (now 0-6 lifetime). But his previous five-set loss–to Rafael Nadal in the 2019 U.S. Open final–was no fault of his own, and neither was this one. The fourth-ranked Russian finished with nine more winners than unforced errors (44 to 35) and struck 19 aces compared to only two double-faults. He simply could not withstand a Margaret Court Arena masterpiece by Wawrinka.

The world No. 15 blasted 71 winners and fired 18 aces to just one double-fault. He converted four of 11 break-point opportunities and won 31 of 46 net points.

“I think last time I play so well was before the surgery,” said Wawrinka, who went under the knife for a knee issue back in 2017. “For sure, I feel since the offseason my level is really high. Physically I’m moving better than last year; so I’m improving…. I have been practicing really hard. I’ve been feeling great on the court, on the practice court…putting a lot of work physically and tennis-wise. The week before here, I was really feeling at the top level.”

“I would be happy if it was next tournament he played like this,” Medvedev joked. “He was playing really well. I think I did a good job to make it two sets to one. I had some opportunities in the fourth set. Didn’t have break points, but was really close in many games.

But Stan played [well]; served amazing. I think was a tight battle where first and fifth set he was really better than me. Second and third, I was better. Fourth was kind of the deciding set, let’s say, where he was really good [in] the tiebreak…. After [this] loss I’m not disappointed too much. Here I’m like, ‘I did my best.’ Of course, I could do some shots better. But he played a great match.”

Wawrinka is through to the quarterfinals in the top half of the draw along with Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, and Alexander Zverev. Nadal defeated Nick Kyrgios by the exact same 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 scoreline that resulted from their 2019 Wimbledon showdown. Thiem and Zverev took care of Gael Monfils and Andrey Rublev, respectively, in straight sets.

Wednesday’s quarterfinal action will pit Wawrinka against Zverev and Nadal against Thiem.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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