Novak Djokovic of Serbia needed 5 hours, 2 minutes to beat Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 12-10 in a fourth-round match at the Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia — The opponent was different, the match a few rounds earlier. Still, the result gave Novak Djokovic of Serbia a familiar feeling, and another chance to rip off his shirt in celebration.
Djokovic needed 5 hours, 2 minutes to beat Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 12-10 in a fourth-round match Sunday at the Australian Open, on the same court where he took 5:53 to beat Rafael Nadal of Spain in last year’s final.
“I just had flashback of 2012,” Djokovic said.
Djokovic has won 18 in a row at Melbourne Park. He advanced to the quarterfinals of his 15th consecutive major tournament.
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“What a match point … unbelievable,” the top-seeded player said.
On his third attempt to end the match, Djokovic’s backhand cross-court shot zipped past the valiant Wawrinka — who, Djokovic conceded, had outplayed him most of the way.
“He came up with great tactics today,” Djokovic said. “He didn’t give me a lot of the same rhythm that I could get into the match. He was the one being in charge. I was passive.”
Djokovic prevailed despite losing his big serve seven times, despite being down a break early in the fifth set and despite then having to fight off four more break points at 4-4, any of which would have allowed Wawrinka to serve for the match.
Wawrinka, who had been receiving treatment to his upper-leg muscles from late in the fourth set, said he would take more positives than negatives from the experience.
“For sure, I think the best match I have ever played,” Wawrinka said. “I fought like a dog, like always. At 4-4 in the final set, I thought I might have won the match. But he was just better.”
Wawrinka was in tears in the locker room after the marathon match.
“We pushed each other to the limit,” Wawrinka said. “But in the end, I lost and the disappointment is there and the disappointment is enormous.”
• Djokovic next will face No. 5 Tomas Berdych, a Czech Republic player who beat South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (15-13).
• In a fourth-round matchup of Frenchmen, No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat No. 9 Richard Gasquet 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
• In a fourth-round women’s match, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova beat No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
• Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus overwhelmed Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-1, 6-1.