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Australian Open 2012: Novak Djokovic reached quarter-finals after beating Stanislas Wawrinka in five sets

Djokovic survives scare from Swiss No 2 Wawrinka as he comes through early morning marathon

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

14:43 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

19:07 GMT, 20 January 2013

It was 1.42am when we saw the shirt ripped off and Novak Djokovic reveal that increasingly familiar torso – the sight which says: ‘You just can’t beat me’.

Stanislas Wawrinka had played like a raging bull for five hours and two minutes, cutting and thrusting with a brutal forehand and elegant backhand. Still it was not enough to finish off a competitor whose spirit makes him stand alongside the greats of the game.

An astonishing half-volleyed paddle at a sharp angle delivered the final blow and Djokovic had made it into the last eight of the Australian Open with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 12-10 victory against the No 15 seed.

Time to relax: Novak Djokovic tweeted this picture of his post-match massage after seeing off Stanislas Wawrinka in an epic five-setter

Time to relax: Novak Djokovic tweeted this picture of his post-match massage after seeing off Stanislas Wawrinka in an epic five-setter

 Djokovic celebrated in his usual manner, ripping his shirt off after taking the fifth set 12-10

Winner: Djokovic celebrated in his usual manner, ripping his shirt off after taking the fifth set 12-10

It took until the early hours of the morning for Djokovic and Wawrinka to complete their five-set marathon

Tired: It took until the early hours of the morning for these two to complete their five-set marathon

Wawrinka won the fourth set tie-break and broke early in the second set, but Djokovic came back to win

Wawrinka won the fourth set tie-break and broke early in the second set, but Djokovic came back to win

So close: Wawrinka won the fourth set tie-break and broke early in the second set, but Djokovic came back to win

The Swiss had been given a fairly easy ride so far, but the World No 1 was always going to be a tough challenge

Shock to the system: The Swiss had been given a fairly easy ride so far, but the World No 1 was always going to be a tough challenge

January is not done, but already there
is a contender for match of the year and, unquestionably, the match of
the year’s first Grand Slam. The 25 year-old Serb is through to face
Tomas Berdych and how much of a toll this has taken remains to be seen.

Last year he managed to rebound from a
match of four hours, 50 minutes against Andy Murray in the last four to
overcome Rafael Nadal and win the final in five hours, 53 minutes. So
there is no reason for the 27-year-old Czech powerhouse to think that
some of the work has been done for him.

Murray’s effort in the US Open final,
when he emphatically put Djokovic away in the fifth set and caused him
to severely cramp, was left looking all the more impressive by the
Serb’s typical refusal to submit and the way his body held up.

The 25-year-old Scot was this morning
due to play Gilles Simon, who featured in another late-night epic on
Saturday against compatriot Gael Monfils, although that was not in the
same bracket of quality as this five- part drama.

Wawrinka, Switzerland’s eternal
bridesmaid to Roger Federer, did everything but win this match and again
showed that he is capable of causing extreme discomfort to the very
best players if they are slightly below their top level.

The Serb is attempting to win his third consecutive Australian Open, which no man has managed before

Big dreams: The Serb is attempting to win his third consecutive Australian Open, which no man has managed before

There were five deuces in Wawrinka's final service game, and the Swiss played a stunning final rally, but Djokovic was just too good

There were five deuces in Wawrinka's final service game, and the Swiss played a stunning final rally, but Djokovic was just too good

Shattered: There were five deuces in Wawrinka's final service game, and the Swiss played a stunning final rally, but Djokovic was just too good

Djokovic felt that his experience of
these situations was the difference. ‘In the end these kind of matches
help your confidence, they are what you live for and practise for,’ he
said.

‘I had a flashback of the 2012 finals.
I feel sorry that one of us had to lose, but I am just thrilled that I
was able to fight up until the last moment.’

That Wawrinka cannot quite deliver the
knockout punch explains why he has spent much of his career just
outside the top 10. ‘It was the best match I have ever played and the
worst I’ve ever felt afterwards,’ he said. ‘I fought like a dog.’ He
will look upon the four break points he created at 4-4 in the deciding
set and ponder how he failed to make one count, particularly the last of
them.

That was when he drilled an unplayable
service return onto the baseline only for the line judge to mistakenly
call it out. Wawrinka had one Hawkeye challenge left but neglected to
use it. Umpire Enrique Molina declined to over-rule and his foe escaped.

Whether he would have gone on to serve
out the match we will never know and such is Djokovic’s capacity to get
himself out of scrapes that it cannot be assumed.

Djokovic has won the last two titles
here and, with the exception of September’s defeat in New York, not
lost in one of the hard-court Grand Slams since 2010.

Djokovic will face Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarters, after Berdych beat South African Kevin Anderson in straight sets

Quarter-finals: Djokovic will face Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarters, after Berdych beat South African Kevin Anderson in straight sets

had Wawrinka challenged a call, he would have been serving for the match

Lucky: had Wawrinka challenged a call, he would have been serving for the match

The final set ended as the clock approached 2am in Australia

The final set ended as the clock approached 2am in Australia

Exhausting: The final set ended as the clock approached 2am in Australia

It took more than five hours for the pair to finish their match in the Australian heat

Thrilling: It took more than five hours for the pair to finish their match in the Australian heat

His game is perfectly suited to absorb
what is thrown at him in this environment and the barrel-chested
Wawrinka hurled everything he could.

By the end it seemed a distant detail
that Djokovic had hardly helped himself by coming out with a defective
pair of shoes that caused him to slip all over the place in the first
set when faced with Wawrinka’s devastating start.

The Swiss took the first set in 25
minutes and served for the second at 5-3, by which time one of the
Serb’s gophers had brought him some new footwear. By then Wawrinka’s
certainty had faded and it could have all been over in the fourth set
but, unusually, his trademark backhand was more than backed up by
everything else in his game.

Only in the 24th game of the fifth set
did he crack and Djokovic clinched it on a third match point to the
delight of a Melbourne crowd who, not for the first time here, had
ignored thoughts of work to come later in the day.

Roger Federer is on in the same late
evening slot today against the powerful Canadian Milos Raonic as he
attempts to reach his 35th consecutive quarter final at a Grand Slam.

He will do so knowing that big danger still lurks in the other side of the draw – as hard to put away as ever.

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ATP Masters: Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic set for battle

Murray and Djokovic gear up for seventh clash of the year at ATP Masters

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UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 6 November 2012

There will be no quarter given when Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic meet for the seventh time this year at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London on Wednesday.

The rivalry has been a huge feature of 2012 and the clash is easily the most eagerly-anticipated of the group stages at the O2 Arena.

Their head-to-head for the year is tied at three all and the key feature of the battles between the two is that they have been just that, brutal battles to the point of exhaustion.

No 1: Novak Djokovic took over as the world leader from Roger Federer

No 1: Novak Djokovic took over as the world leader from Roger Federer

Both their grand slam meetings have lasted almost five hours, with Djokovic coming out on top in the Australian Open semi-finals before Murray turned the tables to win his first grand slam title at the US Open.

The last time they met was in the final of the Shanghai Masters last month, a three-set match that lasted three hours and 21 minutes in which Murray held five match points but Djokovic eventually came out on top.

The London crowd will be hoping for more of the same but for the loser, and possibly even the winner, their chances of progress may depend on the result of their final round-robin match on Friday.

Murray said: 'For me anyway there's an understanding of how much you have to put into the match to win it. I think that's just the nature of these matches.

'Both of us are very good retrievers, so often the points will go on a lot. Sometimes you feel like you need to win the point two or three times, which is tough and can be a little bit tiring.

Chat: Andy Murray talks after beating Tomas Berdych

Chat: Andy Murray talks after beating Tomas Berdych

'But we've played each other enough to know what to expect. We do practice with each other quite a lot, too. But it's never quite the same as the matches, that's for sure.'

Both players began their campaigns in London with victory yesterday, Murray fighting back from a set down to defeat Tomas Berdych while Djokovic saw off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.

All the players are feeling the effects of a long season, but the world number one knows he must expect more punishment tomorrow.

He said: 'When I'm playing Andy, I need to be ready for long rallies and a physically demanding match. So I'm going to have a day to recover and get ready for my next challenge.

'Playing against Andy is always a big challenge. He has had lots of success in London, playing in his town, in front of his crowd, so he'll have big support. It's a big match.

'We know a lot about each other. I'm sure that we're going to come up with some really good tennis.'

Back home: This is Murray's first home tournament since winning gold

Back home: This is Murray's first home tournament since winning gold

This is Murray's first tournament back in London as a grand slam champion after he finally put questions about whether he would ever win one of tennis' biggest crowns to bed in New York.

Apart from a certain inner calm, Murray has not yet felt too many benefits on the court, but he hopes they will come.

He said: 'It's hard to say because I've lost a few very tough matches since. But I hope when I'm playing the best players in the world I'll believe in my shots a bit more and make sure to be aggressive when I can.

'I thought I did a good job of that (against Berdych). I tried to move forward and take his time away a little bit, which sometimes when I played him in the past, I'd let him dictate a lot of the points. I didn't feel like I did that.

'They're the things that, rather than it necessarily being just (a boost in) confidence, also just learning.

'Having won a few of the big events this year, and having lost a tough one in Australia against Novak, and at Wimbledon against Roger (Federer), I've learned a lot this year how I need to play those big points in big games.'

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Andy Murray v Tomas Berdych: Follow the latest score

Andy Murray v Tomas Berdych: Follow the latest from the ATP Tour Finals opening match

PUBLISHED:

13:45 GMT, 5 November 2012

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UPDATED:

13:45 GMT, 5 November 2012

Andy Murray plays in front of a British crowd for the first time since winning the US Open today when he takes on Tomas Berdych at the ATP Tour Finals.

Scot Murray also faces world No 1 Novak Djokovic and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after being drawn in Group A for the season-ending tournament at London's O2.

Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro and Janko Tipsarevic are in Group B.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE SCORE
Tough test: Andy Murray faces Tomas Berdych at the ATP Tour Finals

Tough test: Andy Murray faces Tomas Berdych at the ATP Tour Finals

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Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic LIVE US Open

LIVE: Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic – follow all the action from the US Open final

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UPDATED:

16:46 GMT, 10 September 2012

Andy Murray is aiming to win his first Grand Slam title at the fifth attempt when he takes on Novak Djokovic in the US Open final at Flushing Meadows.

Join us for all the action.

5.45pm: After coming through a stormy semi-final against the dangerous Tomas Berdych, Andy Murray has his second chance of the year to become Britain's first Grand Slam winner since Fred Perry won this tile in 1936.

Having lost the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, he then beat the Swiss star in the Olympic final in London but is desperate to finally taste glory on tennis' biggest stage.

Novak Djokovic stands in his way tonight and enjoys a favourable 8-6 record over the Scot.

Join me for all the action from 8pm.

Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic

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Raonic survives scare to join Tsonga and Berdych in second round of US Open

Raonic survives scare to join Tsonga and Berdych in second round of US Open

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UPDATED:

22:28 GMT, 28 August 2012

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych
both eased through to the second round of the US Open but dark horse
Milos Raonic was pushed all the way by Colombia's Santiago Giraldo.

The Canadian 15th seed is the
brightest of the next generation and is seen as a potential threat to
the big names but he looked on his way out at two sets to one and a
break down.

Scare: Milos Raonic was pushed to the limit

Scare: Milos Raonic was pushed to the limit

Raonic, a potential fourth-round opponent for Andy Murray, was decidedly out of sorts in the roasting conditions at Flushing Meadows but turned things around to win 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 in three hours and 25 minutes.

Fifth seed Tsonga had no such problems against Slovakia's Karol Beck, although he did have to come from a break down in the third set to triumph 6-3 6-1 7-6 (7/2).

The Frenchman said: 'I think I played good tennis the first two sets, and after that I lost a bit of concentration at the beginning of the third set.

'Then I put in some effort to come back. It was not easy today because the weather was hot. I'm happy to go through this round really quickly.'

Safe passage: France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Safe passage: France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Sixth seed Berdych was tested by talented Belgian David Goffin, who reached the fourth round of the French Open as a lucky loser, but did not lose a set, coming through 7-5 6-3 6-3.

The Czech saved 16 of the 18 break points he faced, and he said: 'It's a good statistic for me. I think he has a pretty good future ahead of him. If he keeps doing what he's doing, then I think we can see him quite high in the future.'

Home favourite Andy Roddick, seeded 20th this year, saw off young American Rhyne Williams 6-3 6-4 6-4 while 11th seed Nicolas Almagro from Spain defeated Czech Radek Stepanek 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 6-4.

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London 2012 Olympics: Tomas Berdych crashes out

Darcis bounces Berdych out of singles as Czech's Wimbledon woe continues

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UPDATED:

13:16 GMT, 28 July 2012

Tomas Berdych's miserable summer on the Wimbledon grass continued as he was knocked out in the first round of the Olympics by Belgium's Steve Darcis.

The Czech sixth seed lost his opener on Centre Court at the Championships to Ernests Gulbis, and it was deja vu as he slumped to a 6-4, 6-4 defeat against world No 75 Darcis.

Shocker: Belgium's Steve Darcis was too good for Tomas Berdych in the first round of the men's singles

Shocker: Belgium's Steve Darcis was too good for Tomas Berdych in the first round of the men's singles

Berdych reached the final of Wimbledon two years ago, losing to Rafael Nadal, and had been expected to provide a challenge to home favourite Andy Murray in the quarter-finals here.

Seventh seed Janko Tipsarevic had no such problems against Argentina's David Nalbandian, the Serb coming through 6-3, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Germany's Philipp Petzschner, while Darcis next faces Santiago Giraldo of Colombia.

More to follow…

Down and out: Tomas Berdych's bid for singles glory at the Olympics is over after a first-round defeat

Down and out: Tomas Berdych's bid for singles glory at the Olympics is over after a first-round defeat

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Euro 2012: Czech Republic coach Michal Bilek hopes Tomas Rosicky will be fit for last game

Czech boss Bilek hopes Rosicky will be fit for final group game after achilles knock

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UPDATED:

01:05 GMT, 13 June 2012

Czech Republic coach Michal Bilek hopes that captain Tomas Rosicky will be available for the conclusion of their Group A campaign after limping off during the 2-1 win over Greece in Wroclaw.

The Czechs lost their opening game 4-1 to Russia and knew a another defeat would extinguish their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

But they always looked on course to pick up the three points after taking a 2-0 lead inside six minutes thanks to goals from Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar.

Staying alive: Czech Republic's Tomas Sivok celebrates after beating Greece

Staying alive: Czech Republic's Tomas Sivok celebrates after beating Greece

Substitute Fanis Gekas got a goal back for Greece after half-time following a terrible error from goalkeeper Petr Cech but the Czechs held out.

But Bilek was left nursing an injury headache after Arsenal midfielder Rosicky was forced off at half-time after picking up an Achilles injury.

And the coach admitted he is a doubt for their final Group A fixture against co-hosts Poland on Saturday.

He said: 'With Rosicky it was his Achilles so it was unpleasant for him and we will see tomorrow what the extent of the problem us, but obviously we hope he will be there for the third match in the group as he is an important player.

'We missed him in the second half as he is a key player for us in attack as he can add tempo our game.'

Fitness hope: Tomas Rosicky hopes to be available to play on Saturday

Fitness hope: Tomas Rosicky hopes to be available to play on Saturday

But Bilek praised his side for their aggressive start to the match, and the way they kept composure after Cech's error, where the keeper came to collect an overhit pass only to lose control as Tomas Sivok crossed his path, allowing Gekas an easy finish.

He said: 'It was a great start and this time we were fortunate enough to score two goals.

'In the first half we were great, our combinations were good, we were dangerous and the goals proved that.

'The second half was complicated because Rosicky could not play on and it took us time to get back in the game.

Hats off: Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech applauds the fans after picking up a vital three points

Hats off: Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech applauds the fans after picking up a vital three points

'We conceded a really bad goal, which gave Greece hope but we didn't allow them any clear chances. We defended well and are very happy that our hopes are still alive.

'The pressure on us was great and we knew if we lost it was the end for us but we showed our strength and we won.'

Of Cech's mistake he added: 'It was a mistake. Petr didn't communicate with Sivok and it was an unnecessary goal to concede.'

Greece coach Fernando Santos, meanwhile, felt his side had paid the price for being unable to field their first-choice centre-halves.

Hopes still alive: Vaclav Pilar knows a win against Poland will see them through

Hopes still alive: Vaclav Pilar knows a win against Poland will see them through

A combination of injury and suspension meant Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Avraam Papadopoulos were both absent, and Santos said the Czechs had taken advantage.

He said: 'It was a game which started really badly for us.

'At the start we conceded two goals, although we had been warned that they would start quickly. We knew they would put pressure on us but we failed to respond.

'The Greek defence has only conceded four goals in 10 competitive game and now we have conceded three in just two games.

'Unfortunately the first 10 minutes really cost us.

Tragedy: Greece's Kostas Katsouranis and Giorgos Samaras look dejected after defeat

Tragedy: Greece's Kostas Katsouranis and Giorgos Samaras look dejected after defeat

'It was difficult to come back, we did everything possible to get an equaliser but we didn't make it.'
Greece also had a first-half header by Giorgos Fotakis incorrectly ruled out for offside, but Santos did not want to cite that solitary moment as the reason for his side's defeat.

He said: 'The truth is from my point of view it was difficult to say if it was offside or not. I wouldn't like to comment on that, but if it was a goal and it didn't count then obviously I think it was wrong.'

Santos also confirmed that the injury suffered by goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias during the first half was a minor muscle problem.

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Eskisehirspor want Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky

Turkish side Eskisehirspor target Gunners midfielder Rosicky

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UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 4 June 2012

Turkish side Eskisehirspor want Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky.

The 31-year-old recently signed a new deal at the Emirates.

Meanwhile, Besiktas are close to signing Arsenal midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup. The 19-year old Dutch-born Turkey Under 21 player could cost 560,000.

Wanted: Tomas Rosicky (right) could leave Arsenal for Turkey

Wanted: Tomas Rosicky (right) could leave Arsenal for Turkey

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Euro 2012: Czech Republic won"t risk injured Tomas Rosicky with skipper to miss final warm-up against Hungary

Czechs won't risk injured Rosicky with skipper to miss final warm-up against Hungary

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UPDATED:

19:59 GMT, 31 May 2012

Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky will miss his side’s last warm-up match against Hungary because of injury.

Recovering: Rosicky

Recovering: Rosicky

Euro 2012 email button

However, coach Michal Bilek confirmed
that the Arsenal midfielder will start training on Monday and will have
recovered from his calf muscle injury in time for their first game of
Euro 2012.

The Czechs open their campaign against Russia on June 8.

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Euro 2012: Tomas Rosicky confident he will be fit for Czech Republic

Rosicky plays down injury fears and says he will be fit to captain Czechs at Euros

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UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 26 May 2012

Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky has played down concerns that he will be missing the European Championships due to a calf problem.

The Arsenal midfielder has not been in full training with the Czech team, as they prepare in Austria before their warm-up game against Israel.

I'll be fine: Tomas Rosicky (left) is confident he will be fit to captain the Czech Republic

I'll be fine: Tomas Rosicky (left) is confident he will be fit to captain the Czech Republic

Rosicky may be set to miss this game, and could be racing to be fit for his side's final game before the tournament against Hungary.

Yet the 31-year-old believes there is little doubt as to whether he will be fit to lead the side out at the Euros.

'It does not make me nervous anyhow. I count on being 100 per cent ready for the Euros,' said Rosicky as quoted on skysports.com.

'There is no space for risking now. We would be silly if we did something like that.

In-form: Rosicky ended the season on a high with some good performances at Arsenal

In-form: Rosicky ended the season on a high with some good performances at Arsenal

'Everything was fine (following a change to his gym routine), it's in a good way.'

With two weeks left before the finals, Rosicky said there was no definitive deadline for him to be back in training.

'I can't say any date, so far it depends only on how I feel. I can't tell how the situation will develop,' the Czech captain said.

Czech coach Michal Bilek also played down the concern, adding: 'There are still two weeks and that's plenty of time for Tomas to be fully fit.'