Wawrinka stuns Djokovic to pile the pressure on Murray
The reigning Australian Open champion is knocked out in the quarter finals by unfancied Swiss
NOVAK DJOKOVIC has been knocked out of the Australian Open by Stanislas Wawrinka, the Swiss world number eight, after an epic four-hour showdown which saw the unfancied 28-year-old win the final set 9-7.
The shock defeat is Djokovic's first under new coach Boris Becker and brings to an end a 28-match unbeaten run on tour. It is also his first loss at Melbourne since 2010. Although he won the first set with ease, Djokovic eventually succumbed 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7.
The result means that in addition to a new champion there will be at least one first-time finalist at the Australian Open, as Wawrinka will face another unfamiliar face, Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, in the semi-final. Berdych, a Wimbledon runner-up in 2010, made the last four after registering a shock of his own as he beat number three seed David Ferrer in four sets.
The surprise results pile the pressure onto Andy Murray's side of the draw. Murray, the number four seed, faces Roger Federer in what the Daily Telegraph has billed as the first "superclash" of 2014 tomorrow. The winner of that match is likely to then face Rafa Nadal in the semi-final. Whoever emerges triumphant will be expected to take the title.
Djokovic's defeat means that he will not hold any of the Grand Slam titles for the first time since his breakthrough year of 2011. Since beating Murray in Melbourne last year, he has lost to Nadal the semi-final of the French open, to Murray in the Wimbledon final, to Nadal, again, in the US Open final and now to Wawrinka.
The result is the biggest win of Wawrinka's career, but there are signs that he is a player coming into his own, albeit late in his career at the age of 28. The Swiss has reached the semi-finals of the last two Grand Slams he has entered. His previous best performance was a spot in the last four at the US Open last year, where he was beaten by Djokovic.
His performance in Australia avenges that defeat and also his five-set loss to Djokovic in Melbourne last year, when he finally succumbed 12-10 in the fifth.