Stan Wawrinka showed signs of his old self Monday at the Australian Open. The 2014 champion won the last two sets to bounce No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2, breaking the battered Russian twice in the final set.
”That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere,” Wawrinka said to the crowd. “It was really tough to play against Daniil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is always something special here in Australia.
“I’m finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I’m happy with the result.”
Wawrinka improves to 29-22 in 5-set matches while Medvedev drops to 0-6 having lost his last three in Slams in five. He had never beaten Medvedev in two prior meetings.
“Stan played good, served amazing,” said Medvedev. “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 on the tiebreak.
“After a 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.”
The Swiss will now have to contend with a resurgent Alexander Zverev who hasn’t dropped a set en route to his first non-French Slam quarterfinal. Zverev snapped the 15-mach win streak of Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The German is now 4-0 against Rublev and he’s won both meetings with Wawrinka.
Dominic Thiem maintained his total domination of Gael Monfils blasting past the Frenchman 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. Thiem, who has already parted from Thomas Muster, was nearly untouchable on serve.
“I think that I played my best match so far of this Australian Open. A very, very good feeling,” said Thiem after making his first Australian quarterfinal. “The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and then was managing to hold my serve well. I’m so happy because I’m for the first time in the quarterfinals here.”
In the finale, The Rafael Nadal v Nick Kyrgios lived up to the hype with the World No. 1 taking it 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(4).
Nadal busted out early breaking Kyrgios to cruise to an opening set lead. Right away in the second, Nadal had more break points but failed to convert — even on one Kyrgios connected on a tweener.
Nadal’s usual reliable groundstrokes began to misfire as Kyrgios found and groove and got the crowd involved. A quick break and the match was level.
The two went back-and-forth in a tense third which ultimately ended in a breaker. Kyrgios doubled to give Nadal a set point, then Nadal responded with his own, but eventually took it two points later.
Nadal broke early in the fourth and it looked over. But the Spaniard failed to close it out when serving for it. Kyrgios forced another breaker and Nadal was just a little too good.
“It was a very tough match. In the beginning I was in control, but you’re never in control against Nick,” Nadal told the crowd. “When I made the mistake on serve in the second set, with one serve of mine, it was so difficult to break him again.
“I did the same in the fourth set, but he played a good game. I played a scary game at 5-4, it’s part of the sport and you have to accept it. I tried to recover mentally for 6-5 and then the tiebreak.
“When he plays like today with a positive attitude he gives a lot to the sport. He’s one of the best talents on Tour and I like the Nick Kyrgios of this tournament.”
Tomorrow, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic return with a semifinal meeting on the line. Federer is on during the day against the 100th-ranked Tennys Sandgren.
Djokovic will try to win his 10th straight over Milos Raonic. The dangerous Canadian hasn’t dropped a set and hasn’t dropped serve all event.
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