Henry Wancke | 9th Mar 2020 | 0
Melbourne | Wawrinka and Zverev stun Russian opponents
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At the start of the eighth day at Melbourne it looked inevitable that Russia would fill one of the quarter-finals once the round of 16 was completed but Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev were unable to progress and ill those spots.
It's amazing to still be playing and at that level. I'm really happy with what I'm doing on the court Stan Wawrinka
First it was Medvedev, the player who dominated the tennis scene in the latter part of last year, came unstuck against a rejuvenated Stan Wawrinka, who for the most part during the past week has virtually progressed through the field unnoticed.
The Swiss, an experienced player with three grand slam titles to his name, overcame a dip in his performance to beat the world number 5, Medvedev, 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2 for his 300th win on the tour and his 5th appearance in the last eight at the AO, an event he won in 2014.
For Medvedev it was a major disappointment as he has yet to win a five-set match having now lost six in his career.
Wawrinka, seeded 15, will face Alexander Zverev, the seventh seed, in the quarter-finals scheduled for Wednesday, the German having ended the unbeaten run of 17th seed Rublev, 6-4 6-4 6-4.
“Another amazing match,” said 34-year-old Wawrinka, enjoying his 18th Grand Slam quarter-final appearance.
“The level was super-high and atmosphere is so special here in Australia.
“It’s amazing to still be playing and at that level. I’m really happy with what I’m doing on the court.”
A lengthy absence from the tour meant his world ranking plunged, but he is on the road back having also made the last eight at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows last year to lift himself up into the top 20
It was classic Wawrinka in the first set as he produced some powerful tennis to set his opponent on the back foot.
But he failed to maintain that level in the next two and became tentative as Medvedev took control with his speed and accurate ground strokes and effective serving, striking winners all over the court to claim the second and third sets.
With so much at stake, the two fought through a tough fourth set which had to be decided by a tie-break where the momentum swung back to the Swiss and he held it to go on and seal a place in the quarters.
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While Wawrinka can be relied on to give his all in any match, the same can’t be said of Zverev who, despite his talent, has often fallen short of expectations.
This year that seems to have changed as his run through to the last eight has been achieved without dropping a set.
Against his close friend Rublev, he required just 97-minutes to dispatch a player who had the best record of the season with two titles already to his name and 15 wins under his belt.
In fact he has yet to lose to the Russian in what was a one-sided affair. He didn’t even have to a face a break point as he reached his first quarter-final in five visits to equal his best grand slam result, achieved last year at Roland Garros.
After their embrace at the net, Zverev, 22, said: “I’ve known him since we were 10 years old. I just reminded him how far we got together.
“A lot of young kids would dream about playing the fourth round of a grand slam against one of his closest friends. I just told him we’re going to play a lot of great matches.”