For the third straight day another favorite was sent home early at the wild 2014 Australian Open. This time it was little known Stanislas Wawrinka, who sensationally ended Novak Djokovic’s 25-match winning run at the Australian Open as he finally got the better of the defending champion.
As the clock registered four hours, Djokovic placed a volley wide on Wawrinka’s first match point to give the Swiss a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 victory.
Djokovic was bidding to become the first man since Roy Emerson to win four straight Australian Open titles, and he had not lost a match since the US Open final in September.
Twelve months ago Djokovic won a fourth-round clash against Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in Melbourne while the outcome was the same when they met in the last four at the US Open. Many people myself included thought that their clash in the fourth round last year was arguably the match of the season, so the Rod Laver Arena was primed for something special when the two men walked out under the lights and boy did they get a show.
The loss was a big one for Djokovic who hoped to reclaim the world number one ranking from Rafa Nadal, while it is also an inauspicious start to his partnership with new coach Boris Becker.
Other Men’s action saw Tomas Berdych, who upset third seed David Ferrer 6-1 6-4 2-6 6-4 to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne for the first time.
Berdych joins Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray in having made the last four at all of the grand slams.