Novak Djokovic beaten by Stanislas Wawrinka at the Australian Open
Defeat ends the world No. 2's three-year reign as champion in Melbourne
Tenth seed Wawrinka will play Tomas Berdych for a place in Sunday's final
Berdych defeated world No. 3 David Ferrer earlier on Tuesday
Novak Djokovic’s reign as king of the Australian Open is over.
The world No. 2, a winner at Melbourne Park in each of the last three years, was beaten in a grueling five-set contest by eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka.
At the end of a marathon four-hour encounter, it was Switzerland’s Wawrinka who converted his first match point to seal a 2-6 6-4 6-2 3-6 9-7 win over the six-time grand slam champion.
Wawrinka will play Tomas Berdych for a place in Sunday’s final, after the Czech upset third seed David Ferrer in Tuesday’s earlier quarterfinal.
Energy-sapping duels between Wawrinka and Djokovic have become the norm over the past 12 months, with the Serb emerging on top until now.
At the 2012 Australian Open, Djokovic edged a fourth round match 12-10 in the fifth while the two once again went the distance in their U.S. Open semifinal.
Djokovic won that match and he was protecting an unbeaten run which stretched back to his defeat by Rafael Nadal in the final in New York.
“He’s in a great form,” Djokovic told reporters when asked about Wawrinka. “In the last 15 months he’s had the best results. He’s established now in top 10. He’s been winning against top players in big tournaments.
“So he knows how to play now on the big stage. You could feel that with his game. He’s really taking to the opponent and stepping in. When you’re playing like this, the only thing I can say is congratulations.”
Berdych is into the semifinals of the season’s first grand slam for the first time after falling at the quarterfinal stage in each of the past three tournaments.
The seventh seed will play in the last four of a major for the first time since the 2012 U.S. Open.
“There were some special moments which went well together in this match, making it for the first time here in the Aussie Open to the semis, winning my first match on Rod Laver after all those years,” said the Czech.
“That’s been a very special match to me. I’m extremely happy to go through.”