MENAFN - Arab News
Wawrinka dethrones Djokovic
(MENAFN -Arab News) MELBOURNE: Stanislas Wawrinka brought a dramatic end to Novak Djokovic’s quest for a fourth successive Australian Open title in the quarterfinals on Tuesday when he finally found a way to beat the Serbian in a grand slam five-setter.
The pair held a packed Rod Laver Arena spellbound with four hours of top quality tennis studded with breathtaking rallies before the Swiss emerged a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 winner to snap a 14-match losing streak against the second seed.
Wawrinka had come close to beating Djokovic in a five-hour epic in the fourth round here last year and another five-set thriller in the semifinals of the US Open last September — only to fall agonizingly short.
The 28-year-old finished the job on Tuesday, though, riding his thunderous serve and summoning up some brilliant shotmaking, particularly off his backhand, to claim what could be a career-defining win when Djokovic fluffed a volley.
“He’s an amazing champion, he never gives up. I’m really, really, really, really, really, really happy,” said Wawrinka, whose path to a first grand slam final is blocked by Czech Tomas Berdych.
“After losing two times against him in grand slam in five sets, I’m really happy to take that one. It’s great for me.”
Wawrinka modestly played down his chances of winning the title.
The Swiss eighth seed, with an ode to persistence by Irish poet Samuel Beckett tattooed on his forearm, has endured a long, hard struggle before finally dethroning the three-time defending champion.
But he refused to get ahead of himself despite causing the greatest upset of a tournament which has also seen shocks to women’s top seed Serena Williams and world number three Maria Sharapova.
Defeat for Djokovic in his first major tournament under new co-coach Boris Becker ended his run of consecutive grand slam semi-finals at 14, his winning streak in tour events at 28 matches and his unbeaten run at Melbourne Park at 25.
“This is probably the court where I had most excitement in my tennis career,” said the four-times champion.
“These are kind of matches that you work for, you live for, you practice for. Unfortunately somebody has to lose in the end. This year it was me. I lost to a better player.”
Czech Berdych came out on top 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in a three-hour arm-wrestle against David Ferrer to reach the last four at the year’s first grand slam for the first time.
Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard had earlier kept her poise in the biggest match of her life to oust Ana Ivanovic 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 and set up a semi-final against China’s Li Na, who dispatched Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-2.
The highlight of the day was always going to be the final match of the night, though, and Djokovic started in the same vein as in his impressive fourth round victory to claim the first set.
Wawrinka stormed back to take the second and third sets but Djokovic again pounced to claim a break at 4-3 in the fourth, letting out a huge roar before sending the contest into a fifth stanza.
When the Serbian grabbed an early break in the decider, it looked like it might be a case of deja vu for Wawrinka but he lived up to his “Stanimal” nickname by muscling his way back into the contest.
“It was a really tough battle,” said the Swiss. “Didn’t want to let him win that one. Got a bit lucky there in the last one. He missed easy shots.” Big-serving Berdych has made a habit of steaming through the first week in Melbourne before falling victim to the first top seed he encounters and he made the most of his kind draw against baseline hustler Ferrer.
After cruising to a two-set lead over the Spaniard, he faltered in the third before finishing off the third seed for his first ever victory on the center court at Melbourne Park.
“It’s really great feeling,” said the seventh seed. “It’s been a very special match for me. I’m extremely happy to go through.” Ivanovic had cleared her own path to the final by upsetting world number one Serena Williams in the fourth round but was unable to take advantage against Bouchard.
The Serbian looked on course for a first grand slam semi-final since her 2008 French Open triumph after clinching the first set but Bouchard charged straight back into the contest to tie it up at 1-1 on an Ivanovic double fault.
Ivanovic tried to wrest back the momentum but as much as she ramped up her formidable forehand, there was no putting this particular Genie back in the bottle.
“It’s not exactly a surprise,” said 19-year-old Bouchard, the first Canadian to reach the last four in Melbourne.
“I always expect myself to do well. I’m not done. I have a match on Thursday. I’m just looking forward to that.” Bouchard lost her composure only once, when she was asked in her on-court interview who she would most like to date and declared a liking for pop star Justin Bieber.
Li’s victory was, by contrast, a stroll by the banks of the Yarra River as she blasted her 28th-seeded opponent off the court to reach the semi-finals for the fourth time in five years.
After her victory, Li entertained the crowd on Rod laver Arena with another of the interviews that have made her a firm favorite at Melbourne Park — this time about how she would never smash a racket as she considers them friends.
It was left to her fellow thirty something Pannetta to assess the former French Open champion’s form.
“I think she’s just improved her game a lot in the last year,” said the Italian, who was 2-2 in career meetings with Li going into Tuesday’s match.
“She’s really consistent. Today she was much better than me in the court.”
MENA News Headlines
|Mar 16 2014||War, the latest visitor to Syria's fabled Palmyra ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Syria's fabled desert Greco-Roman oasis of Palmyra saw its last tourist in September 2011, six months after the uprising began. Its most recent visitors are violence and ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Gaza power plant restart delayed over fuel ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Gaza's sole power station will not resume operations until Monday, despite Israel reopening a crossing to fuel deliveries, the deputy chief of the Gaza energy authority said on ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Saudi 2013 GDP up 3.8 central bank ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia's GDP grew by 3.8 percent in 2013, media on Sunday quoted Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) governor Fahad al-Mubarak as saying.
The International ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Finance House AGM Approves 25% Cash Dividend ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) Finance House P.J.S.C (FH) shareholders approved the payout of a cash dividend of 25% for the year ended 31 December 2013, at its Annual General Meeting, subject to obtaining necessary ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Ground-breaking du Tuesday campaign sweeps Dubai Lynx Awards
du receives eight awards at the 2014 Dubai Lynx four Gold, three Silver and one Bronze for its unconventional du Tuesday campaign
|(MENAFN Press) du, the Middle East's fastest-growing telecommunications company, won an impressive eight honours at the 2014 Dubai Lynx Awards for its disruptive du Tuesday campaign. The ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Ministry of Transport and Communications patronises Project OmanTransOman 2014 ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) Muscat-Oman's infrastructure is on the verge of a huge expansion, with numerous road projects, airports, mining operations, railway networks, affordable housing, human capital to name ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Etisalat Unveils Cloud Digital Signage Solution for Businesses ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) Etisalat, the UAE's leading telecommunication services provider, has today announced the launch of its Cloud Digital Signage Solution, designed to address the advertising and ...|
|Mar 16 2014||EMP Reaffirms its Commitment to the Highest Data Security Standards ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) Emerging Markets Payments (EMP) began the year with yet another landmark achievement. Africa and the Middle East's leading electronic payments processing company recently announced ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Product Review Synopsis - DermoViva Lotions ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) Maintaining healthy skin is a daunting task for the active modern woman who is often on the go. Women have to contend with many factors such as harsh weather conditions, unhealthy ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Abu Dhabi, Central Bank ink USD20b refinancing pact with Dubai ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) The Abu Dhabi Department of Finance and Central Bank of the UAE signed an agreement between the Abu Dhabi Government and Dubai Government for refinancing of a USD10 billion, Emirates 24\7 ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Virgin Mobile Middle East to launch in KSA in first half ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA) expects to launch telecommunications services in Saudi Arabia in the first half of this year, gulfnews reported.
The Communication and ...|
|Mar 16 2014||DED seizes AED 9.5 million worth of counterfeit cosmetics ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in the Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai, has confiscated 1.2 million pieces of cosmetic products after ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Crispy Peking Duck at The China Club ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) From 1st until 30th of April, the China Club, traditional Chinese restaurant at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek is offering Crispy Peking Duck in five different ways to try ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Easter Brunch Celebrations at Friday Fun Food Festival ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) On Friday, 18th of April, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek is celebrating Easter at our famous Friday Fun Food Festival.
From 12:30 pm until 4:00 pm, the 2nd floor of the hotel ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Cherry Blossom Festival at Minato ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) From 1st until 30th of April, authentic Japanese restaurant Minato at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, celebrates the Cherry Blossom Festival with the arrival of spring featuring ...|
|Mar 16 2014||18th edition of Arab OilGas 2014 opens tomorrow in Dubai ,MENAFN Press|
|(MENAFN Press) The 18th edition of the Arab Oil and Gas show, which is the International Trade Exhibition for Onshore and Offshore Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Industries serving the Middle East and ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Egypt to take offers of rice imports ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) The Egyptian supplies minister said that the government would accept offers to purchase imported rice for its subsidy program, gulfnews reported.
The country"s bid is a sign that Egyptian ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Dubai Investments profit hits USD29.3m ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Dubai Investments (DI) announced a net profit of USD29.3 million through divestments in nine subsidiaries over the years, Emirates 24\7 reported.
DI"s private equity subsidiary, Masharie, ...|
|Mar 16 2014||Abu Dhabi extends period of $20 bn loans to Dubai ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Oil-rich Abu Dhabi and the UAE central bank agreed Sunday to extend the period of loans worth $20 billion accorded neighbouring Dubai when it was hit by the global financial crisis ...|
|Mar 16 2014||New Acer C205, the exceptionally light and versatile projector ,MENAFN Press|
â€¢ Bright 150lm pocked projection
â€¢ Up to 2 hours power cable free projection
â€¢ High fidelity sound via 4W (2x2W) speakers
â€¢ Portable, opt. wireless and ...|