Australian Open: Wawrinka carves up Nishikori to continue title defence

Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka (right) shakes hands as he celebrates after victory in his men's singles match against Japan's Kei Nishikori (left) on day ten of the 2015 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka (right) shakes hands as he celebrates after victory in his men's singles match against Japan's Kei Nishikori (left) on day ten of the 2015 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Jan 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Defending champion Stan Wawrinka avenged his US Open quarter-final defeat to Kei Nishikori in style with an emphatic 6-3 6-4 7-6(6) victory to charge into the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The fourth-seeded Swiss has worked his way slowly into the year's first grand slam but put his foot to the floor at a sun-drenched Rod Laver Arena, dominating Nishikori with raw power and compiling an exhaustive highlight reel of cleanly struck winners.

Wawrinka's backhand was particularly deadly, picking off the clean-hitting Japanese from all points of the court, but the Swiss was also impressive rushing to the net, a relatively new weapon in his arsenal.

Wawrinka made hard work of the tiebreak, blowing five match points after storming to a 6-1 lead, but closed it out on the sixth with an ace to set up a semi-final with the winner of top seed Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic.