Wawrinka, Bouchard Offer Up Stunners at Australian Open
by Staff | January 21st, 2014, 8:22 am
  • 34 Comments

He chipped away last year with two five-set losses at Grand Slams, but this time Stan Wawrinka would only settle for a breakthrough.


The No. 8-seeded Swiss on a late Tuesday night in Melbourne defeated No. 2 Novak Djokovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 to advance into the Australian Open semifinals and a meeting with No. 7 Tomas Berdych.

“Last year I didn’t finish and it was really tough, but this year I came back,” Wawrinka said. “He is an amazing champion and he never gives up, and I am really, really, really, really, happy…I was really focused point after point, I was feeling really great on the court…I was also really nervous so it’s not easy to deal with that — now I’m going to go to the ice bath for a really long time…When he’s playing his best he’s better than me for sure, I was trying to focus on playing really aggressive.”

In the fifth set Djokovic and Wawrinka traded early break, then the Serb made a couple uncharacteristic errors in the 16th game of the set to send the Swiss into the semis. At last year’s Aussie Open it was Djokovic who triumphed 12-10 in the fifth set.

Berdych in his quarterfinal upset No. 3 David Ferrer 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

“He is serving and playing big from the baseline,” Wawrinka said of Berdych, “so I will need to play my best game.”

The 28-year-old Berdych broke through to his first Aussie Open semifinal after waiting through a purple patch in the third set and stopping the grinding Spaniard from stretching it to five sets.

“It’s extremely tough physically with David always, and after losing third set and not playing well, I tried to be focused for every point,” Berdych said. “I’m playing well. I feeling really good. It’s going really well this 10 days already…I need to rest. I need to prepare. I need to make the same approach as I did in those past matches, really believe in myself, believe in my game.”

The women’s side provided some equally shocking moments on Tuesday as tour rookie 19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard of Canada showed her composure in a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 quarterfinal win over No. 14 seed and Serena Williams conqueror Ana Ivanovic.

In a match filled with baseline bashing and timely net approaches by both players, Bouchard in her first Australian Open main draw appearance upped her power from the baseline to match that of the free-swinging Serb.

In the third set Bouchard broke for 3-1, with Ivanovic receiving treatment for a leg/hip problem, before running out the set 6-2.

“I think it was really just staying with her, battling,” Bouchard said. “I played her once last year. I feel like she’s playing at a much higher level right now. I know she won a tournament early this year. She was playing really well. I just had to stay with her, try to control the point a little bit more. I think late in the second set I decided to use my forehand a little bit more and I think that worked well.”

Bouchard in the semifinals will meet the No. 4 seed Li Na, who in her quarterfinal Tuesday routed Italian Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-2.

“I got a lot of confidence because of being match point down against [Lucie] Safarova,” said Li of her match earlier in the tournament, attempting to reach her third Australian Open final. “Finally I came back to win that match, and so of course I got a lot of confidence and belief in myself.”

Quarterfinal matches scheduled for Wednesday in Melbourne are (11) Simona Halep vs. (20) Dominika Cibulkova, (5) Agnieszka Radwanska vs. (2) Victoria Azarenka, (1) Rafael Nadal vs. (22) Grigor Dimitrov, and in the night cap, (4) Andy Murray vs. (6) Roger Federer.


Also Check Out:
Genie Bouchard Hit This Incredible Shot While On The Ground! [Video]
Eugenie Bouchard: I Was Born With Self Confidence
Eugenie Bouchard And Coach Nick Saviano Split
Watch Genie Bouchard Give The Weather Forecast In Montreal [Video]
Kvitova Bagels Bouchard for 2nd Wimbledon Title

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34 Comments for Wawrinka, Bouchard Offer Up Stunners at Australian Open

roy Says:

again it’s proven nadal can’t play on fast hard courts against big hitters. unless he can wear them down with ugly tennis on clay-like hard courts, he can’t win. that’s why he was expressing concern about the fast conditions and all.

…oh, wait, that was djoker who lost, just like delpo. ah, well, if nadal loses feel free to use my paragraph and apply the familiar double standards.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

“When he’s playing his best he’s better than me for sure, I was trying to focus on playing really aggressive.”
Very kind comment from Wawrinka.

Djokovic’s post-match reaction was extremely sportsmanlike and gentlemanly, giving Stan smiles, hugs and the time for a few words at the net. Boucquets for Nole!

I’m so excited for Bouchard. She showed amazing game last night, and after the way she’s thrashed two straight opponents in the third set, she’s giving notice that she has the physical and mental stamina of the best.


Fumus Says:

Ayo Sean Randall, what do you have to say about jur boy Djoko losing before the semis? Stings doesn’t it. You might wanna go back and re-write that season preview.

Can anyone deny Nadal is the favorite for the title and finish number 1 for yet another year? Novak is on a descending arc and Rafa is holding steady.


Hippy Chic Says:

Fumus im a big Rafa fan but your counting your chickens,what happened today goes to show that nothing can be taken for granted tennis is a funny old game,one step at a time,theres no such thing as a foregone conclusion.


gonzalowski Says:

One good point for Nadal is that, in principle, he’ll be able to confront the clay season without being concerned about the number one; something that sometimes has been hard for him.


gannu Says:

congrats to nadal on his 14th aussie open…cant help it…got to live with that ghastly sight of him biting the trophy!!! All one handed backhands grigor, fed and then wawrinka….murray is not upto the mark…so relentless defense and pounding of one handed back hand and grind them down and win…Djokr is the only one who had the mental resolve and ability to beat and he is out!


WTF Says:

Stan’s backhand is better than Fed’s. He is clearly the best Swiss player at the moment. Well done Stan. If you can beat the best, you deserve to take home the title, so I wish him the best of luck. He has the easier half, and with the biggest threat gone he should be in the final. Only problem is, he has a bad record against Rafa, Fed, and I think Murray also.

The way I see it is, he’s served his role as Giant Slayer (along with Ivanovic). Beating the one person no one else can beat, but then losing and gifting the title to someone else who would not otherwise have been able to slay the giant.

Ivanovic pretty much handed the title to Azarenka, and I think barring another monumental stunner, Stan has given it to Rafa.


Thangs Says:

Nole, Its time to hire justin henin to the team…


andrea Says:

i had a feeling stan would take this match…it was his time. go eugenie. what an awesome feeling as a canadian tennis fan. go girl! congrats to stan, sorry for novak.


Ven Says:

@ Fumus

Sean is great defender, he will come up with heat in OZ & Beker scandal Lol


nitesh Says:

sorry djoker but law of averages is catching you with rafa , wawranika & murray. You had beaten them fair & square now its there time bad luck mate in 2011 was yours
AO 12 was yours
FO 12 rafa
WIMBY 12 Federer
USO 12 murray
AO 13 Was Yours
after that real misery begins
FO 13 nadal
Wimby 13 murray
USO 13 nadal
AO 14 wawranika
you have got 4 big defeats in grand slams i want you to make a comeback just you did after USO and want you to win french open this time and for AO 99% nadal will win because he has the experience to win even after playing badly


RZ Says:

I wouldn’t call either of these victories “stunners.” Sure, they are upsets and are surprising, but Wawrinka had played Djokovic close several times last year, and Bouchard has shown she can hang with the top players (plus Ivanovic was clearly injured, though credit to Bouchard for staying composed).


SG1 Says:

As a Canadian, I was happy for Bouchard. Though I have to admit feeling bad for Ana. Seemed like she was going to put a run together and win the AO after a lot of years of struggle. I’m not sure how injured she was but the injury did seem to affect her play. Her toss was pretty wild in the late stages of the 3rd set.


Hippy Chic Says:

Gannu i really feel for your state of mind,Novak lost but was the favorite who knew?who saw that one coming?so i dont think there is such a thing as a foregone conclusion,Rafa has to beat Grigor,then Andy or Roger,and either Stan or Tomas in the final,so theres a long way to go yet,anyway i thought you would be enjoying Roger playing such fabulous tennis,and looking forward to his match against Andy,rather than wasting nervous energy worrying about what Rafas doing,seems a shame really..


Brando Says:

@RZ:

I agree with you. Whilst Novak was the favorite to win, I don’t think anyone was expecting him to have it smooth sailing in this one. We all thought Wawa would be a challenge going into this one.

Wawa showed at AO and USO last year that he has the game to match and challenge Novak. Scratch that: he has the game to challenge ALL the big boys.

With him the question was simple:

Will he be mentally solid when it gets really tight and the one who keeps his nerve usually wins?

ONLY Wawa himself could answer that in his next battle and that was today and he showed that he could. When you look at it that way: it really is not a shocker of a result. Rafa losing to Rosol, Darcis = shocker.

Nole losing to Wawrinka in the 5th set = not a shocker.

Wawa beat defending champion Andy Murray at the USO last year- he’s clearly a big match player.

I think Novak lost to arguably the 3rd or 4th toughest player he could possibly face today (Rafa, Muzza and then either Wawa or Delpo IMO are the toughest ones for him today).

When you think of it like that: the loss is not as bad as some think IMO.


Polo Says:

I was happy for Bouchard and was ready to be a fan until she was asked who she would like to go out on a date with. After a long pause (I thought she was thinking of something witty to say), she said, “Justin Bieber”. Ugh. I am going to root for Na Li now.


WTF Says:

RZ Says:

“I wouldn’t call either of these victories “stunners.” Sure, they are upsets and are surprising, but Wawrinka had played Djokovic close several times last year, and Bouchard has shown she can hang with the top players (plus Ivanovic was clearly injured, though credit to Bouchard for staying composed).”

The stunner was not Bouchard beating Ivanovic. It was Ivanovic beating Serena.

Serena and Nole were the two clear favorites and no one expected them to lose. Unless another monumental upset happens, I think Rafa has one arm around the trophy already. Neither Murray or Federer have had a good past 6 months. He has Berdych and Stan’s number.

By beating Nole, what Stan has done is not win the tournament but enable someone else to win. If he hadn’t done that, it was Nole’s to lose.

The same goes for Ivanovic beating Serena. If you look at betting odds, no one else had a chance at the title. Ana was never going to win it, all she did was make it possible for someone else to. Had she lost to Serena, no one else had any hope of claiming the silverware.

They both did big favors to the rest of the remaining players. To be fair, I do think Rafa had a legitimate chance of beating Nole, but Nole would have been the hot favorite.


WTF Says:

“Nole losing to Wawrinka in the 5th set = not a shocker.”

For me, Nole not winning the title = shocker. His name was on it. Him losing to anyone, I don’t care who or in what manner to me was a huge upset.

It is on the same level as Federer’s Wimbledon run coming to an end by Nadal. Nadal had made inroads against him the previous year, so it was not inconceivable, but it was monumental.


Eric Says:

I’m a Djokovic fan, but let’s face reality: Nole has been in decline as a big match player since winning the 2012 Aussie Open. In all the GS losses since then, he showed a lack of mental toughness. At the 2012 French final, he blows a fourth set lead and double faults to lose. Had the right to continue playing in the rain and likely beating a frustrated Nadal on Sunday, but stupidly agrees to reschedule to Monday, gifting the title out of a bizarre sense of “sportsmanship”. At 2012 Wimby semi, he plays listlessly vs. Federer and misses an easy overhead on a critical point. At 2012 US Open final, he’s in a trance and falls down 2-0 vs. Murray, scratches back to 2-all, then meekly loses fifth set 6-2. Wins 2013 Aussie Open sans Nadal, then blows the French semi vs. Nadal on a preposterous net violation (when he was up a break in fifth), gifts Wimby to Murray with inexplicably passive play, ditto a US Open gift to Nadal with supreme underconfidence and choking at crucial moments. And outright quitting in fourth set. Then has a stellar fall/year end streak, which is fine for money,points and lesser titles, but GS problems continue yesterday — again, gagging on the last two points against Stan, mistakes that a skilled recreational player wouldn’t make. Hard for the psyche to bounce back after consistently failing at times of extreme pressure. So right now, Nole = mentally weak, and unless he’s somehow able to turn it around, he may never win another Grand Slam title.


Daniel Says:

Eric,

Agree to some degree, Djokovic indeed is Slamless over the last 4 Majors for the first time since 2010. The only way for him the regain confidance and mental toughness is to win RG, beating Nadal or not (as if Nadal will lose to anybody eles, yeah right). He needs a statement win.

This lost basically secures Nadal as #1 until north America hard court swing in Aug-September.
Let’s see how this slam will unfolds but if Nadal wins back to back US Open and AO, as the 2 most important tourneys in hard courts, how that will fare for all the other players?! That was a matchh he couldn’t and shouldn’t lose.
But his credit to force a fifth, any other player not named Nadal would have lost to Stan today. Or Djoko just played the way he liked, pace and flat shots. Fed, Murray and Nadal usually don’t give him that rhythm all the time, maybe that was his fault today. Or maybe the courts, balls, etc. Berdych lost only 1 set so far and Fed is looking good as well.


courbon Says:

@ Eric: Very good post.My worries from 2013 just returned ( last 4 months Novak run give me a hope he is changing for better ).He needs Grand Slam win this year (any for that mater!) otherwise…I don’t want to sound so gloomy but his performance in big matches is not on the top level.


Polo Says:

Eric, what a stinging review of Djokovic’s continuing majors struggles but very astute observations nonetheless. Has Djokovic been trying to appear too sportsmanlike to the point of sacrificing his chances to win? Even in his interviews after bitter slam losses, he has been too diplomatic, too nice. It’s almost as if he does not mind losing anymore. He mentioned after 2011 that it will be hard to duplicate that year which I believe as more of a sign of weakness and doubt instead of humility. Has he given up trying to duplicate 2011? Nadal and Federer never doubted their ability to duplicate a sterling year. They always say they would like to do even better. They talk more like real champions than Djokovic. I wonder if he is resigned to playing second fiddle to those two.


Eric Says:

Another thing that worries me about Nole is his decision to replace long time coach Vajda with Boris Becker. Djokovic strikes me as a sweet and sentimental soul who forms close relationships with trusted confidants. For example, he’s had a long term girlfriend/fiancee who is rather plain, when he could have had his choice of outrageously hot supermodels (a la Murray, Tipsarevic, etc.). Vajda would be the coaching equivalent of Jelena Ristic. Thus, I have to question the wisdom of such a dramatic change to a harmonious, long term relationship with a devoted man who was completely committed to Nole. He dumps Vajda for a guy with no coaching pedigree, and an erratic personal and financial profile. To what end? A high risk move that he possibly didn’t sufficiently think through, yet the potential benefits are hard to define. Furthermore, if you want a fresh perspective, or valuable advice from a former great, why not put Becker on the team as a paid, travelling consultant, supplementing Vajda’s input. That would’ve made far more sense, but little about Nole’s performance and results has made sense for the past two years now. It’s a shame, especially considering he’s got oodles more raw talent that Nadal, Murray or anyone else in the game.


Polo Says:

Eric, I put, “And why Becker?” as my last statement but erased it prior to posting. Now you commented on what I had in mind.


Brando Says:

@Eric and others:

Wow- great discussion guys and a real treat to read!

Some thoughts re Novak:

- Mental Issues:

I agree with Eric here. I think mentally Novak really has shown a weakness in the big moments. He has shown that he gets nervous, tight even and you could almost expect his rivals to think:

Keep with him, stay with him. Turn it into a battle, since when it gets to crunch time I know this guy will make some mistake.

Sometime there are normal errors but others are just plain unforgivable (Rafa in AO 12′ for example). Eric has listed them, and it’s clear that Novak seems to making these errors on a regular basis in the big matches, in the big moments.

Take today for example: how on earth did he miss a elementary level volley on MP with so much court vacant?

He just had to hit it in and the point was his. Back to deuce. Yet he missed it by a distance. Unbelievable to see that from Novak.

So I agree: he needs to sort it out ASAP, but the problem is this really happens in GS, big matches and until the next one we cannot know whether he does so or not.

-’ he may never win another Grand Slam title.’:

Completely disagree. He’ll win more. He’s too good not to. But I am already on record about this:

I do not think he’ll ever really be a serial slam winner like a Federer, Nadal, Sampras, Laver and Borg.

Facts are facts: post AO 12′ he’s 1/8 in GS wins. And this is his peak, prime age.

- Re Becker:

He’s blameless here. Novak hired Boris because Vajda’s wife is unfortunately ill. Naturally he has to look elsewhere. Vajda still is around for him though.

Whilst I agree Boris really is not what I would call an ideal pick, but let’s face it:

Novak is a complete baseliner who cannot really improve much there since he’s so good as it is. Serve and net game he can improve though: enter Boris.

But really more than anything I think what he needs in a Coach more than anything else is:

Great tactics and supportive, calming, loving personality.

Novak need’s his head to be right and then his game shall be fine. His problem is mental more than technical.

Boris- and I like him- really never does seem to be the prime candidate for such a job.

Either way: it’s far to early to make a call on this team. Post Wimby is best time to see whether Boris was a good move or not.


Thangs Says:

Sean is still in shock that he couldn’t write an article for other QF picks and pans.


harry Says:

Congratulations to Stan!

@Hippy Chic: Thanks for the commiserations you expressed on another thread. I have just been busy over the last few months and did not want to spend a lot of time posting. But I couldn’t help sneak in and post today ;)

@courbon: Nice to see you here…

@Eric: Yes, that is true. There is perhaps an additional factor at play here: the other day I was looking at a bunch of Novak’s statistics (1st serve%, 1st serve win%, ROS, 2nd serve win%, ace% etc) over the last few years on H/C against (a) all the players and (b) top-5 players. In comparison to 2011 Nole has improved in all measures except ROS (a drop of 1.5% in ROS win rate versus all players); against the top-5 it is the same trend except that his ROS has become even worse (a good 3.5% drop in win rate). I also looked at Rafa and Andy’s stats in similar context; their ROS have come down too, but clearly not as much as Nole’s. May be he just needs to change his contact lenses… just kidding ;) [The evolution of Andy's stats was quite interesting and i would need another post to do it justice.]

On another note: Fed’s new racket seems to give him extra power on his backhand shots (especially on his returns). There were a couple of BH flicks off Tsonga’s serves which were truly 2006ish…


Eric Says:

Djokovic serves brilliantly, making 78% of his first serves in the fifth set and still gets broken twice. How is that possible? By making 21 u/e’s in that set alone, including the last two points of the match. Awful, gruesome stuff.
As for @Brando believing Nole will win more GS titles (“He’s too good not to”), I hope you’re right. However, in 1991, a 23 year old Boris Becker won his fifth Grand Slam title, in Melbourne. He’d win one more his entire career. Nole turns 27 in May. Time’s running out, mate…


Polo Says:

One thing in favor of Djokovic is that he is a much better player than Becker. Therefore, he has a greater chance of winning more majors. There is no doubt about that.


Brando Says:

@Eric:

I kinda agree. Consider the following:

1. He turns 27 prior to next slam- RG.
2. Open Era record for most slams won post that age: 5.
3. Generally most players start to tail off age 29 at the most- that’s only 2 years away.
4. Competition: Rafa and Muzza are right there with him. Delpo and Wawa can cause an upset for sure, and the young guns are only getting better with time and will surely step up some time.

Who knows if time is running out, but he sure cannot afford to take it for granted…….


Brando Says:

PS:

I was going to add is it realistic to expect Novak to win 5 slams post age 27 when in his entire career prior to it he’s won 5 and when you consider since AO 12′ he’s only won 1?

1 slam in close to 2 years of peak age?

I think it’s a bit unrealistic. Something in between is more feasible IMO.


Okiegal Says:

Novak under tremendous pressure, it got to him and he lost. Simple as that. Stan capitalized on that flaw in his game tonight. Stan knows that Novak is better than him, he said so in his presser. Pressure causes an emotional reaction, causes one to be anxious and therefore your play will suffer because of it. Novak made errors he would not normally. Stan took it to him, pushed him and got the best of him. The stage was big for Novak…points to defend, 5th title……just saying. Lots riding on that match for Novak. Stan played a stellar match…….that backhand, simply gorgeous!! What is it with the Swiss and their backhands?? Great play from both guys.


nitesh Says:

nadal showed today why he is a great champion. He is playing badly but is still wining tight points tie breakers this is the place where your mental toughness is required.


nitesh Says:

Djokovic doesnt need boris becker he requires a mental conditioning coach

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Rankings
ATP - Dec 15 WTA - Dec 15
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Kei Nishikori5 Ana Ivanovic
6 Andy Murray6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Milos Raonic8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Angelique Kerber
10 David Ferrer10 Dominika Cibulkova
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