Stan Wawrinka beat Daniil Medvedev to reach his fifth Australian Open quarter-final
Stan Wawrinka produced some of his best tennis to battle past fourth seed Daniil Medvedev and reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.
The Swiss 2014 champion, whose recent years have been hampered by injuries, won a see-saw encounter with the Russian 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.
Wawrinka, the 15th seed, next plays German seventh seed Alexander Zverev after he beat Russia’s Andrey Rublev.
Fifth seed Dominic Thiem also advanced with a clinical win over Gael Monfils.
The Austrian did not face a single break point in a 6-2 6-4 6-4 win over the French 10th seed that took him to the last eight for the first time at Melbourne Park.
He will now face world number one Rafael Nadal, who defeated Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.
Medvedev’s five-set misery continues
Wawrinka got off to a blistering start, taking a quick first set with two breaks of serve and showing much of the style that took him to three Grand Slam titles before injuries derailed his career.
But the Swiss, who lost to Medvedev in the US Open quarter-finals in September, then found himself a double break down in the second as the Russian reduced the unforced errors that cost him in the first set and began to take charge.
Medvedev had been billed as one of the main contenders to challenge the ‘Big Three’ of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer after he took the Spaniard to five sets in September’s US Open final.
But after being taken to a tie-break in the fourth, his game began to desert him and he began muttering to himself in frustration.
Once the match went into a final set, Medvedev’s record was against him with the Russian having never won a fifth set in five previous attempts.
He went a double break down and allowed the Swiss to serve out the match in comfort after three hours 25 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.
“This was another amazing match, another amazing atmosphere, it was really tough to play against Daniil. The level was super high,” Wawrinka said.
Ruthless Thiem plays his ‘best match’
Dominic Thiem wrapped up victory over Gael Monfils in an efficient one hour and 50 minutes
Thiem, who was beaten by Nadal in the past two French Open finals, was in ruthless form against Monfils on Rod Laver Arena.
The Austrian controlled the match from early on, breaking in the third game. He then consistently put pressure on the Frenchman’s serve, creating 14 break points while giving away very little on his own.
The 26-year-old dropped just four points on his serve in the third set, serving out the victory to love.
His celebrations had been briefly put on hold when he thought he had sealed the win with an ace, only for the replay to show it was out.
But he took it on his second serve when Monfils netted a forehand, summing up an erratic performance by the 33-year-old Frenchman, who made 32 unforced errors and has now lost six out of six meetings with the Austrian.
“I think I played my best match so far of this Australian Open. A very, very good feeling,” Thiem said.
“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 quarter-finals here.”
Zverev wins in straight sets again
Alexander Zverev will be playing in the quarter-finals of a Grand slam for a third time after twice losing in the last eight at the French Open
Zverev beat childhood friend Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 to end the Russian’s 15-match winning streak and move into the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time.
Rublev, 22, had won titles in Doha and Adelaide at the start of the season, but could not become the first player to take a set off Zverev in Melbourne this year.
“It feels amazing,” said Zverev. “I have played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season. He’s won two tournaments already, made it to the fourth round here, playing unbelievable tennis.
Zverev, who won 49 of his 54 first-service points, struck 11 aces and hit his 34th winner to complete the win in only 97 minutes – and then gave the Russian a hug after the match.
“We have been close friends since we were 10 years old and I just reminded him how far we got together,” added Zverev, also 22.
“A lot of young kids would dream about playing the fourth round of a Grand Slam against one of his best friends and I told him we’re going to play many more big matches.”