While it may not have lived up to their previous two head-to-head battles at the Australian Open, today’s semi-final showdown between Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka was still well worth the wait. While neither player was at their best, both fought until the very end and delivered fans yet another five set beauty.
In the end, it was the seven-time Grand Slam winner who raised his level of play in the deciding set, earning a 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 victory to advance to his fourth Aussie final in the last five years. The loss meas Wawrinka will now see his ranking fall all the way down to No. 8 in the world, as he was unable to match his appearance in last year’s final.
In what truly was a match of mistakes and mediocrity, the No. 1 seed was able to right the ship in time to deliver his finest work when it mattered most, whereas the Swiss No. 2 became completely unglued and allowed an early break in the deciding set to snowball on him, meaning there would no way back for the 2014 champion.
It was an embarrassing and rather disappointing way for such a match to finish, but it did seem rather fitting. Despite both players showing flashes of brilliance it was an ugly match from start to finish, however it was one that could have easily been salvaged with a memorable fifth set.
There would be no classic finish this time around.
Sunday’s finale will also mark the fourth time in five years that Djokovic will face Andy Murray in Melbourne, and their third championship match. To this point, the current world No. 1 holds a perfect 3-0 mark against his good friend but it is Murray, the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist , who will come into this year’s final with a ton of confidence and playing at the highest level, something he hasn't shown in quite some time.