A brilliant Stanislas Wawrinka ended Novak Djokovic’s three-year reign at Melbourne Park, closing out a five-set classic at a heaving Rod Laver Arena to sensationally dump the Serb from the Australian Open quarterfinals.
Heartbroken by Djokovic in two five-set epics in Melbourne and the US Open last year, the eighth-seeded Swiss played out of his skin to upset his Grand Slam nemesis 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 in an exhilarating four hours.
Wawrinka stayed cool in a deciding set of unrelenting tension, sealing it when the former world number one pushed a shot wide on match point.
His triumph blew the tournament wide open, setting up a semi-final with Czech Tomas Berdych while snapping the Serb’s 28-match winning streak.
“He’s an amazing champion, he never gives up. I’m really, really, really happy,” Wawrinka said in a courtside interview.
“I was really focused point after point. I had to stay aggressive, not to give up. I was tired, I was cramping a bit, I was nervous too. But now I’m going to have an ice bath for a very long time.
“Last year was really tough, this year it’s a new year.”
Wawrinka’s bid to claim a maiden Melbourne Park semi-final appearance started nervously as he notched a trio of unforced errors to gift the Serb the opening break in the sixth game.
Djokovic knuckled down to hold serve and prised two set points off his opponent’s serve.
The Swiss saved one but was powerless to save the second as a jet-heeled Djokovic rushed in to retrieve a kind net-cord and whipped a drop-shot cross-court.