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Tennis: Djokovic prevails in 5-hour thriller at Australian Open

Published on Jan 20, 2013 10:50 PM
 
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates defeating Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in their men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 20, 2013. Djokovic survived an early onslaught and a late fightback from Wawrinka in a pulsating fourth-round clash to advance to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open early on Monday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Defending champion Novak Djokovic survived an early onslaught and a late fightback from Stanislas Wawrinka in a pulsating fourth-round clash to advance to the quarter-finals of tennis' Australian Open early on Monday.

The 15th-seeded Swiss had taken a 6-1, 5-2 lead over the world No. 1 with a powerful serve and booming groundstrokes before Djokovic took greater control of the rallies and waited for Wawrinka to make mistakes.

Wawrinka, however, managed to send the fourth-round match into a decider when he totally dominated the fourth-set tiebreak before Djokovic clinched a tense 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 12-10 victory on his third match point in 5hr 2min.

Djokovic, seeking to become the first man in the professional era to win three successive Australian Open titles, will now meet fifth seed Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals after the Czech overcame South Africa's Kevin Anderson.