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Jeff Cooper

Outstanding Djokovic-Wawrinka Fourth Round

By January 20, 2013

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Stan Wawrinka played the best match of his life and pushed Novak Djokovic to the limit in Sunday's fourth round of the Australian Open, but Novak prevailed 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(5), 12-10.  Stan's topspin backhand is among the cleanest and most powerful of all time, and he hit it aggressively throughout, mostly aiming for the deep corners with solid spin.  Stan went to his slice backhand primarily for defense, especially to return Novak's first serves, and he also used many more chip (floating slice) forehand returns than most players do.  Stan's chip returns usually landed deep and got him into the point, but if Novak had anticipated them and chosen to serve and volley, they would have made easy put-aways.  Novak's serve worked well throughout the match; Stan's faltered significantly only in the second set, when he let slip a 5-2 lead.  In the end, the razor-thin difference was Novak's incredible defense and ability to convert to offense after running down what most players would have found an exhausting, if even gettable, series of Stan's deep, well angled shots.

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