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Australian Open 2013: Novak Djokovic wins 5-hour thriller
Top seed survives marathon with Stanislas Wawrinka to advance
She next plays fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who beat fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-4. Sharapova defeated Makarova in the quarterfinals here last year on her way to the final, which she lost in straight sets to Victoria Azarenka.
Li Na, who reached the final here in 2011 and won the French Open later that year, saved a set point in the tiebreaker before beating Julia Goerges 7-6 (6), 6-1. She’ll play No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat No. 13 Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-4 for her 13th consecutive win. Radwanska won the Auckland and Sydney titles before coming to Melbourne.
On Monday, Roger Federer plays Milos Raonic, and U.S. Open champion Andy Murray faces Gilles Simon. Azarenka, Serena Williams and fellow American Sloane Stephens also have their fourth-round matches.
Thy will have a tough time matching the spectacle of Sunday’s late-night encounter.
Djokovic had beaten Wawrinka — the perennial No. 2 among Swiss tennis players to 17-time major winner Roger Federer — in their 10 previous matches. He hadn’t lost a head-to-head since 2006 and had won 11 straight sets between them.
Wawrinka stunned the top-ranked Djokovic with three service breaks in the first set and had that 5-2 lead in the second before the 25-year-old Serb rallied by winning six consecutive games. But just as Djokovic seemed to be taking control, Wawrinka launched his own comeback to win a long tiebreaker and force a fifth set.
Djokovic got to serve first in the fifth, giving him a psychological edge as long as he held his serve.
Wawrinka had game point in the 22nd game but let Djokovic get on a roll. He saved his first match point with a service winner, then saved another two minutes later.
At 1:40 a.m. local time, Wawrinka was whacking his head with the racket and biting the ball after giving Djokovic another match point.
Moments later, he was slumped on the court, exhausted. Djokovic raised both arms, walked to the net and embraced his beaten rival, then pulled of his shirt and flexed.
“Give him credit, he made me run all over the court,” Djokovic said. “He never gave me the same ball. He was aggressive from both sides. I didn’t know what was coming next.”
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