Melbourne - Defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka wasted five match points before
sealing a straight sets win over Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori to
reach the semi-finals at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Swiss fourth seed won 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) in just over two hours and
will now face either top seed Novak Djokovic or eighth seed Milos Raonic
for a place in Sunday's final.
Nishikori had mastered the Swiss
over five sets in the quarter-finals at last year's US Open, but it was a
far different outcome this time.
Wawrinka dominated with his
serve and backhand to reach his third Grand Slam semi-final and a chance
of playing in back-to-back finals at the Australian Open.
He broke Nishikori's service three times and lost serve only once, while winning 86 percent of his first-serve points.
am still nervous about that tiebreak, I was a bit defensive, it's never
easy, you have to go for it and I'm happy to get through," Wawrinka
said about blowing five match points.
"It's going to be a tough
one in the semi, but I'm playing well so I am happy to be back again to
be playing in the semi-final. I will watch tonight's match and then
Wawrinka set out to attack Nishikori's forehand and got a service break in the fourth game after Nishikori netted a forehand.
The Japanese superstar fought off two set points in the eighth game before Wawrinka served out for the opening set.
again came under pressure in the second set, fighting off a break point
in the third game before he was broken in the fifth by a scorching
Wawrinka backhand winner.
The Japanese star saved three break points in his next service game before Wawrinka served out for a two sets to love lead.
US Open finalist jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third set, but the
Swiss quickly broke to love with a cracking backhand cross-court winner
and then levelled up.
Both players swapped breaks early in the third set before it went to a tiebreaker and Wawrinka stormed to five match points.
But he lost them all before Nishikori attempted a netted drop shot from the baseline to set up another match point.
Wawrinka made no mistake with an ace to clinch victory.
Results from day 10 of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Wednesday:
Stan Wawrinka (SUI x4) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x5) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6)
Madison Keys (USA) bt Venus Williams (USA x18) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Serena Williams (USA x1) bt Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x11) 6-2, 6-2
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)/Lucie Safarova (CZE) bt Julia Goerges/Anna-Lena Groenfeld (GER x16) 6-0, retired
Chan Yung-Jan (TPE)/Zheng Jie (CHN x14) bt Michaella Krajicek (NED)/Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE x13) 6-3, 6-2
Jean-Julien Rojer (NED)/Horia Tecau (ROU x6) bt Dominic Inglot (GBR)/Florin Mergea (ROU x14) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)
Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini (ITA) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU)/David Marrero (ESP) 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5)