“I’m finding solutions”- Wawrinka battles past Medvedev to reach Australian Open QFs

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Former champion, Stan Wawrinka battled back from two sets to one down to beat Daniil Medvedev, and move into the quarter finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.

Wawrinka scored a 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 6-2 victory over Medvedev, moving into the quarter finals of the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career, and for the first time since 2017.

It was also his first victory over Medvedev, who had won their two previous matches- at Wimbledon in 2017 and the US Open last season. The Swiss has now reached the last eight in three of the last five majors, and will seek his first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2017 French Open when he faces Alexander Zverev on Wednesday.

“That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere,” Wawrinka said in his on-court interview. “It was really tough to play against Daniil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is always something special here in Australia”.

“I’m finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I’m happy with the result.”

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Wawrinka began confidently against Medvedev, imposing his attacking brand of tennis on the Russian to race through the opening set. The 2014 champion dropped just four points on serve, blasting 16 winners and just eight unforced errors in a near perfect set of tennis.

The Swiss was also helped out in that opening set by an off-colour Medvedev, who gave up 12 unforced errors, but the world No. 4 cleaned up his game in the second set, troubling Wawrinka with the sort of consistency that has propelled him to the top bracket of the men’s game.

Hitting with impeccable depth and accuracy, Medvedev pegged his opponent back, luring him into extended rallies and extracting the errors off Wawrinka’s racket. Medvedev made just two unforced errors in the second set; Wawrinka, by contrast, donated 13. The Russian broke twice en route leveling the match.

The third set followed a very identical pattern, the main difference being that there was just one break of serve as Medvedev opened up a two sets to one lead. The world No. 4 had beaten Wawrinka in four sets in each of their two previous meetings, and with momentum behind him on Monday, the Russian was favourite to produce a similar outcome heading into the fourth set.

Wawrinka, though, had other ideas. The three-time major winner refused to withdraw into his shell, but instead came out firing in a high-quality fourth set. He hit 18 unforced errors, but he also struck 20 winners, sticking with Medvedev and pushing the set into a tie break. Having looked rock solid from the start of the second set, Medvedev’s accuracy deserted him at the beginning of the fourth set tie break, as he committed two errors to gift Wawrinka a 3-0 lead. The Swiss controlled the breaker from there, going after his shots from the back of the court and moving forward and executing at the net to take the set and force a decider.

Stan Wawrinka scored his first victory over Daniil Medvedev (PA Sport)

The Swiss continued to play at a very high level at the start of the final set, while Medvedev, rattled by the loss of the fourth set, lost his bearing for a bit. Wawrinka pounced and got the early break, which he guarded diligently through the remainder of the set. Medvedev soon settled and pushed for the break back in the fourth game, but Wawrinka found his best tennis under pressure, saving three break points to fend off the Russian.

That effectively killed off Medvedev’s resistance, as Wawrinka won the final three games to get the win after almost three and a half hours, and return to the Australian Open quarter finals.

“He was playing really well,” said Medvedev, who has now lost in the fourth round in Melbourne for the second straight season. “I think I did a good job to make it two sets to one. I had some opportunities in the fourth set. I didn’t have break points, but I was really close in many games. But Stan played well [and] served amazing.

In the end, it was Wawrinka’s positivity, and willingness to go after his shots that got him over the line. The 34-year-old finished with 71 winners, as against Medvedev’s 44.

“It’s amazing for me to keep playing here and to play at that level. I’m really proud of what I’ve done on the court and I’m looking forward to playing in the quarter-finals.”