Wed, Jan 22, 3:43pm by Brad McGrath
Wawrinka pulled off a stunning heist to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 in five thrilling sets on centre court on Tuesday night, inflicting Djokovic’s first defeat at the grand slam since 2010.
Wawrinka, who was on the wrong end of a five set loss to Djokovic in the fourth round at last year’s Australian Open, said belief was a key factor in toppling the world no.2.
“I came on the court tonight with a lot of confidence in myself, knowing that if I play my best game I always have a chance against him,” he said.
“It’s always tough, especially against Novak. I was tired, I was cramping a bit, I was nervous too. I had to fight within myself to fight against him and try to keep my line during the game. Last year was really tough, this year it’s a new year.”
The loss of the tournament’s second seed has seen Rafael Nadal shorten into $1.83 favourite with www.sportsbet.com.au with in-form Roger Federer and Wawrinka both shortening into $6.
Federer began the tournament as fifth favourite paying $15 after losing the final of the Brisbane International to Australian Lleyton Hewitt, but his demolition of Jo Wlfred-Tsonga has seen the former champion backed heavily.
The Swiss maestro is due to play Andy Murray, who is paying $7 to win the tournament, in a quarter final clash on centre court on Wednesday night.
Federer, who is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park, is $1.83 favourite to defeat Murray ($1.98) who has been impressive since returning from a serious back injury.
Nadal was due to play up and coming Bulgarian Gregor Dimitrov on Wednesday afternoon with the Spanish superstar an unbackable $1.08 favourite to beat the $8 chance.
The Spaniard defeated Japanese star Kei Nishikori in his round of 16 match in straight sets, with the match not as easy as the straight sets score-line suggests.
Nadal said he will have to be at the top of his game to defeat Dimitrov who many rate as a future world no.1.
“He’s amazing. He has everything to be the next biggest star,” Nadal said.
“He has everything to be next in the top positions.
“I hope to play my best match against Grigor. If not, it’s going to be impossible.”
Meanwhile, Agnieszka Radwanska has upset the women’s second favourite Victoria Azarenka, with the final scoreline reading 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 on Wednesday afternoon.
The women’s draw has opened up considerably with top seed Serena Wiliams bowing out at the hands of Ana Ivanovic, with the champion American later revealing she was suffering from a back injury.
Remarkably Chinese player Li Na is now $2.37 favourite to win the women’s crown, ahead of Radwanska who has firmed into $3.75.
Rafael Nadal $1.83
Roger Federer $6.00
Stanislas Wawrinka $6
Andy Murray $7
Thomas Berdych $9
Gregor Dimitrov $9
Na Li $2.37
Agnieszka Radwanska $3.75
Dominika Cibulkova $8.50
Eugenie Bouchard $8.50
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