Australian OpenGrand Slams

Djokovic Defeats Wawrinka in 5 Set Thriller

Wow, it’s not often I post on matches where Federer hasn’t taken part but I felt like this one deserved a post of it’s own as fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka just went down 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7(5-7) 12-10 in the fifth to defending champion Novak Djokovic. It was a crazy match, lasted over 5 hours and could have easily gone either way.

Unfortunately I missed the opening set and a half but when I flicked onto the scores and saw Wawrinka had taken the first set 6-1 I was surprised to say the least. He was actually 5-2 up in the second set too and served for it only for Djokovic to hit back like he always seem to do and take it 7-5.

After that I thought it was pretty much game over for Wawrinka after he choked the second set away, he’d clearly started well and caught Djokovic off guard but normal service would resume. It did for a period as Djokovic took the third set 6-4 and looked as though he would just be able to pull away when it mattered.

The 4th set was another topsy turvy affair, Wawrinka missed a few break point opportunities and then had to call for the trainer out for a thigh injury but it didn’t seem to effect his play. The resulting tie break was Wawrinka at his best again hitting backhand winners for fun and once he got the double mini break he never looked back taking the match into a decider.

I still made Djoker the favourite heading into the fifth but Wawrinka had the wind in his sails and broke immediately to gain the advantage. Of course, he didn’t consolidate and Djokovic was back on level terms. This was the writing on the wall really for Stan here, you can’t hand over your advantage like that and expect to win. It changes everything, he had the all important break but gave it straight back.

At 4-4 Wawrinka crafted a break point and he went for a big forehand return, it clipped the line but was called out. Stan asked Umpire Molina whether he should challenge and he said it was definitely out. People are in uproar about this but this is an example of a player mentally choking. Why trust the umpire to make a call for you? It is near suicide, you go with your instinct there not what somebody else tells you.

After that big moment I figured Djokovic would take it, he held serve to love 5 times after that and you just knew he was in the ascendancy whereas Wawrinka was fighting fatigue and having to serve to stay in the match time and time again. At 11-10, he saved 2 match points with some epic backhands but Djokovic completed the victory at the third time of asking with a cross court backhand pass.

I felt a little gutted for Wawrinka after he put in such a huge effort but he’s just not got that killer instinct like the top guys. He had plenty of chances but after he handed the break back in the fifth he was always playing catch up. He played bravely to save match points but he needed to be the one creating the match points, not having to save them. There are positives here for him but ultimately he still came up short.

A little over the top?

Djokovic Celebrates

Implications for Federer / Rest of the Draw

Federer Practicing prior to his Raonic clash

Obviously Djokovic is in the other half of the draw so providing they both get there Roger wouldn’t meet him until the final but a match like this is a tough one to weigh up.

Prior to this I thought Djokovic was looking ominous but then he didn’t look brilliant against Stepanek and now he had to dig real deep to see off Wawrinka to make the Quarter Finals. So now part of me thinks he’s vulnerable. The other part of me thinks a match like this will be give him a ton of confidence that he can take with him right through to the final. After all he got outplayed in this match for large chunks it just boiled down to the fact he was the mentally tougher one when it counted and Wawrinka doesn’t have that clutchness.

I don’t think he will be tired physically in the slightest and luckily for Novak he has his pet dog in the next round Tomas Berdych. I give Berdych little chance in that match even though he defeated Kevin Anderson with ease earlier today.

I still expect Djokovic to make the final but that’s where it gets interesting. Like I said he’s not a complete lock for the title now. He’ll take confidence from playing clutch tennis yet again when it mattered but today he showed his game isn’t completely impenetrable. The GOAT has a good chance here if he can see off the challengers in front of him.

The Magic Egg

Will the egg make the difference?


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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  1. Really feel VERY VERY sorry for Stan. He has the game, the best one-handed BH, great serve, just needs to be stronger mentally and be more consistent to be in the top ten. I have watched Stan so many times getting so close but not quite (Wimbledon 5 set against Murray for example) it really hurts. If he plays consistently like that, there is no reason why he can’t be in the top ten. He deserves it much more than e.g. Tipso / Almagro!

    1. Yeah Stan still not the best mentally. He showed fight today but still didn’t play the big moments that well. He was good when he was staring defeat in the face, but weak when the victory was within grasp.

      He’s better than Almagro though that’s for sure. Inflated ranking that guy. I hope he moves on from the loss and improves.

  2. I feel so bad for Stan. I was rooting so hard for him during the match! I only caught it from the end of the fourth set but it was a brilliant match to watch. I’m not so sure about Djokovic getting to the final now… I know Berdych hasn’t beaten Djokovic in ages but after a match like that, it has to be encouraging for the other players. And Ferrer is playing some good tennis aswell, so you never know!! I did think that Stan was going to win but Djokovic’s ability to outlast opponents in these long five-set matches is ridiculous. This match will surely have to have an impact on him at some point later on in the tournament.

  3. I felt sick when I checked the scoreline. I didn’t watch it but I knew there would be another screaming shirt pulling episode. Did he follow it up by pumping his chest like a monkey?

    After a tough match like that, there is no place for such celebration, if only to show respect for a worthy opponent. It’s called chivalry. I guess there is not such work in the Serbian dictionary.

    This sport is getting overwhelmed with classlessness.

      1. How about not being a chauvinist?

        For your information, when it comes to chivalry, it is the English dictionary that is unable to translate all of the Serbian words that describe that concept (e.g. “чојство”).

    1. Yeah it was way OTT for the moment. Wasn’t really necessary. Hardly a moment of passion either as he’d already been to the net, shaken hands and put his racket down!

    2. You probably felt even more sick when Novak lifted AO trophy.
      That what is Novak has to do in order to win:
      defeat the opponent, silent the crowd, mute the media. ..and he does it with a smile.

  4. For this phenomenal display of tennis, Stan won $125,000.

    For her awesome 1-6 0-6 loss, Kirsten Flipkens made $125,000.

    1. Hi i agree with if the women have equal pay then surely they should also play best out of 5 sets like the mens tennis players.

      1. Serajul, it’s not about playing 5 sets. No way they can do 5 setters. 80% of the field will start dropping like dead flies by the fourth round. Serena Williams will win every major from here on until still chooses to hang up her shoes.

        There is no way women’s tennis brings in as much revenue or excitement as men’s. It should not be judged simply by gate earnings. There are many other factors. And, there is no way either that after 7 matches, the same amount of effort is put it. Agreed, women are the weaker sex (physically I meant, but of course the fairer), but the point is, they are pretty much piggy backing on the earnings from the men’s games.

  5. Stan was awesome – if he plays like that more often his ranking will rise for sure. His groundstrokes actually kept up with Djokovic’s for a very long period of time and he didn’t back down even when he could have and perhaps should have wilted.

    I think Djokovic vs Berdych will be closer than a quick 3 sets Jonathan. Tomas may not win but this is his best Slam play-wise and he was a point away from a two-set lead against Nadal last year. 48 hours is only 48 hours and Nole just played 5 grueling hours. And Berdych is very fresh and is in good form. He’ll give Nole his money’s worth, kind of like Tsonga did at the French.

    1. I think Novak will recover in time, he played a way more physical match with Murray last year and then beat Rafa in six hours but because that was a final his adrenalin was a bit higher. This will probably give Berdshit more of a shot though, he will push Novak but anything is possible just like last night.

      1. Berd**** stands no chance against Novak. Even more so once the Djoker gets a nice nap in his egg.

        Of course, I’ll be very happy if I am proven wrong.

      1. Yep he remembers that hes a tennis player and ruins Federer chance of winning GS.Berdych can only play great once then he will lose to Djoker or Murray. What a annoying player!! Maybe this time he could do Federer a favour for once and beat that lucky Djokobitch.

    2. I like how everybody is calling Thomas… Berdshit! I hope Djokobitch loses then i will stop callin him Berd-crap or shit or whatever it is.

  6. This was one of THE best matches, kinda reminded me of Roddick. Gosh, it went till 2am here, reminded me of Djoker’s final with Rafa last year with that celebration. Stan was the better player no doubt but even if he went 2 to sets to love up, Novak is the master of coming back. I think he will be physically fine for Berdshit, he played Murray and Rafa back to back so why can’t he do it here? Also noting if he makes it he will play semis on thursday against Ferrer probably and then gets two days rest, he’ll be fine.

    Umpire was very wrong on that call but everybody makes mistakes. However, lines people were doing a dodgy job last night. On Stan’s first serve midway through the fifth, Novak made a great return on the line at 15-30 but it called out only for the linesman to apologise and than stan ended up holding, so these things happen, I don’t think it would’ve changed the result, they would have had to replay the point anyway.

    Plus I think this will make him even more confident because now he will think that even though he didn’t even play near to his best tennis, he still prevailed in the end.

    He’s still a lock for the finals but I agree that Fed or Murray has a better shot at him. He is not in the form I saw in his first two matches, and looks like he didn’t get the easy side of the draw either way. Man gutted for stan.

    BTW Roger, take notes on how to use your backhand against Novak, wow was that a weapon for Stan, Djokovic couldn’t read it at all.

    1. Also, Roger got a night match with Milos, a bit relieved as won’t be as faster conditions for Raonic’s serve. Hope were not in for another one. First Simon-Monfils and then this match ugh it’s like a curse. But trusting the GOAT to come out on top.

    2. Alysha, it’s easier said than done about Federer using Stan’s backhand against Djokovic. It’s not possible. Stan’s racquet is about 40 grams lighter, it is also a couple of points head heavy, meaning more weight in the front to give more power, and most importantly, it is 98 sq in, which is a much larger head area. There is a reason why Stan has a better backhand, because his equipment facilitates it. But then, Roger, with his racquet, has countless other advantages and hence has 17 more slams than Stan 😉

    3. Yeah a win like this can help a player massively with confidence levels. Djoker could destroy Berdych now. There are some weaknesses his game that only the GOAT can exploit though so I think Fed would have a good chance of beating him here if he were to make the final. Tsonga and Murray will be tough for sure.

  7. I have to say that this match was nothing short of an epic – it easily sails into my top 5 matches of all-time in the Open Era (that I have watched since the late 70’s ). In fact, the standard of play was breathtaking and it was so good that it even puts the play of most in the current top ten into the shade.I don’t quite agree with you Jonathan on this one that Stan choked – I really believe the margins between who wanted it the most are quite finite. He had chances, particularly at 5-4 in the final set and 40-15 on Djokovic’s serve, and knew his back was against the wall if he didn’t break here,which he didn’t. And I agree with you Jonathan that he should have challenged the umpire on that dubious line call in that same game. As for Berdych, I did state before the tournament that should he meet Djokovic in the quarter final ( and he will ) that this is a REAL opportunity to prove himself as a real tennis man. I fully agree with Kyle that this match will not be a walk in the park for Djokovic. Djokovic will recover physically for this match but the mental scars from Stan’s match will definitely resurface should Berdych take the match to him…

    1. I kinda feel, this match has boosted Novak’s confidence more than ever, such an advantage against berdych along with the fact that he owns him. He probably think he is unstoppable here in Melbourne, but he will need to play like he did against Harrison if he wants to level with Tomas’ form atm.

    2. I don’t really know if there are many mental scars from the Wawrinka match for Djoker man. He can only take positives from it really, he was outplayed yet still found a way to win. Look at Fed vs Benneteau last year at Wimbledon.

      As for Berdych, I think Djoker will come out and get it done pretty routine. How does Berdych hurt him?

  8. I think the match with Stan was a much tougher mental and physical battle than the match vs Murray last year was. Stan hit huge and went for his shots all the time. I think the fact that the match happened in the 4th round and not the semis could change things, but I guess we won’t know until the quarter begins. All I know is that if he has two tough matches against Berdych and Ferrer, that would be a huge advantage should Fed get to the final.

    1. Djoker is a machine though. You can never bank on him feeling it physically. If Fed makes the final to play Djoker he will have to beat him up with his shotmaking ability not tiring him out.

  9. Gee, Jonathan, your predictions are so good! In your AO 13 predictions, you said that Del Potro will lose early. Bingo! Chardy beat him in Rd 3 and now is on a good run to the QFs!

  10. Whoo hooo! Yes fed has beaton Roanic. Into his 35 consec Quarter finals. If fed continues to play like this and better then i think fed can win no. 18.

  11. Hi sid the cookie thief… Sorry for late reply…regarding ur reply on women etc etc i actually agree with ur statement. Ur points make sense but i think we should quit b4 it gets too controversal. Otherwise we will both get hate mail. But i still look forward to reading ur thoughts on other matters regadin tennis. From now on i will react like Jonathan and be quiet and neutral on sensitive matters!!!
    P.s thanks 4 ur reply 🙂

    1. Hate mail 🙂 I know what you mean. Those people who start flame wars are the biggest idiots on the internet. They have no rational reasoning power. Some may think I’m a male chauvinist pig. In real life, I’m exactly the opposite. But the moment you say something about women’s tennis, all hell breaks loose! Say something about Serena William’s behavior and you instantly branded as a racist 🙂

      For starters, screaming and grunting should be totally banned. There should be no place for that in tennis. You opponent must, at all times, listen to the sound of the strings hitting the ball.

      The WTA is just making quick and cheap money for the pathetic quality of tennis they’ve been displaying.

      Maybe someday, if Jonathan lets me, I’ll make a post on the state of women’s tennis 🙂

      1. Again i cant disagree with u one bit… Sid. All ur points r valid. But i guess thats the sad thing about telling the truth! Theres always someone to object and have ridiculus thesis as an argument to object and not concur with facts and truth/ or common sense.Nowadays u say meerly sensitive and all hell breaks loose and u r branded as u put it ur previous post.Why cant people have dignified and deal with such issues like proper grown ups instead of teenage/juvenile delinquents.Thats me done…its off my chest now.
        Regarding tennis that Berdych has lost predictably again. What a dick of a player cant beat anyone apart from upseting Federer from time to time. Arrrrrrrgh that Djoker and Berdcrap are soo annoying!!!!

      2. Haha, my blog is WTA free really. Or at least it so far.

        I agree with you about grunting though man. It’s a joke. I don’t understand why people try to defend it or claim that its natural. It’s not. Simple.

        Luckily as Federer fans it’s not something we have to experience. 100% grunt free. Except the odd one on the effort second serve!

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