Stan Wawrinka finally beat Novak Djokovic last night, ending a run of 14 consecutive defeats at the hands of the world #2. After losing two heartbreaking 5-setters at the Aussie and U.S. Opens to Djokovic last year, Wawrinka’s big serve and backhand got the job done this time around.
Stan was M.I.A. in the first set before storming back to take the next two. The match was so lopsided in the first that it seemed inconceivable it would eventually go the distance. But, when Djokovic fell behind 2 sets to 1, I doubt anybody believed there wouldn’t be a fifth.
The match featured stark swings of momentum and when Nole unleashed his typical screaming tirade at the end of the 4th and into the 5th, it looked like he had seized it for good.
*His outbursts are likely my least favourite thing in all of sport. How is he such a gracious loser yet such an obnoxious frontrunner?
Somehow, Wawrinka was able to absorb that momentum change, get back on serve in the 5th, and hang with Djokovic until the end. It’s not something that we see very often - outside of Nadal, players aren’t usually able to weather the Djokovic storm.
This is a disastrous result for Novak. Among the things that were at stake last night:
Nadal is now the frontrunner for the title, if only because he’s the #1 seed. His play against Monfils was sublime, then less so against Nishikori. Will the blisters on his hand be a major obstacle? This tournament is wide open now. Federer could win, especially if he summons the form he displayed against Tsonga. I’d never bet against Andy Murray, and now Wawrinka is a serious contender after toppling the 3-time defending champ.
Such great tennis behind us and still so much yet to come!