SAN DIEGO, January 20, 2013 – Number one seed Novak Djokovic needed five sets and five hours to outlast a charging Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland on his quest for a third straight Australian Open title.
Djokovic held off Wawrinka 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 (5), 12-10 in a match that provided the most excitement of the tournament so far with the momentum veering back and forth as each player gave his best. When he finally beat Wawrinka with a sizzling cross-court shot at the net after one of the match’s many exciting rallies, Djokovic ripped off his shirt and roared for the fans who had stayed until 2 a.m. in Australia to see the finish. He said he was amazed how many had stayed in the Rod Laver Arena until the end.
Djokovic praised his 27-year-old opponent, saying, “He equally deserved to be a winner.” Roger Federer won’t be the only player people know from Switzerland after this match. This is how close it was after five hours: Djokovic won 209 points; Wawrinka 200 points. They were 7 of 15 and 7 of 18 respectively in break points.
Will Djokovic have enough left in the tank for the rest of the tournament? He joked when asked about it. “It was only five hours.” It’s a legitimate question, which will be answered in his semi-final match against fifth ranked Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
David Ferrer of Spain advanced, beating Kei Nishikori with ease, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. It sets up an all-Spanish quarterfinal with Nicolas Almagro. Almagro’s Round of 16 opponent, Janko Tipasaveric, was forced to retire due to injury in the second set of their match.
Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska headed for semi-finals
In contrast, Maria Sharapova is breezing through her matches, looking more and more like the woman to beat at the 2013 Australian Open tennis tournament.
Sharapova made her way into semi-finals with another easy victory, this time over Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0. This follows two so-called “double bagel” wins of 6-0, 6-0 in the first two rounds. Even seven time grand slam winner Venus Williams could only manage a 6-1, 6-3 loss.
Sharapova will face fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the quarterfinals, who defeated Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-4. Makarova lost to Sharapova in last year’s quarterfinals and would love to avenge that loss. But it’s not all that likely given Sharapova’s dominance this year.
Also advancing to the quarterfinals: China’s Li Na, defeating Julie Georges of Germany, and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, who had little trouble with Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic.
Tonight’s schedule determines the remaining semi-final matchups, with Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and the young American Sloane Stephens all on the court. Play begins at 7 p.m. EST, with the night session at 3 a.m. EST Sunday. Many of you have a holiday tomorrow, so get your midnight snacks ready and enjoy the action. The tournament airs in the United States live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
Sunday (Monday) Australian Open 2013 Schedule
In the Rod Laver Arena at 7 p.m. EST:
Caroline Wozniacki (10), Denmark, vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia
Victoria Azarenka (1), Belarus, vs. Elena Vesnina, Russia
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (7), France, vs. Richard Gasquet (9), France
Night Session at 3 a.m. EST:
Serena Williams (3), United States, vs. Maria Kirilenko (14), Russia
Milos Raonic (13), Canada, vs. Roger Federer (2), Switzerland
Hisense Arena at 7 p.m. EST:
Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, Australia, vs. Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands
Not before 8:30 p.m. EST Sunday:
Jeremy Chardy, France, vs. Andreas Seppi (21), Italy
Bojana Jovanovski, Serbia, vs. Sloane Stephens (29), United States
Not before 1 a.m. EST Monday:
Gilles Simon (14), France, vs. Andy Murray (3), Britain
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She writes on professional cycling and covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at WashingtonTimes.com” when quoting from or linking to this story.
Copyright © 2013 by Falcon Valley Group
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.