Stan no match for Feds in Swiss battle
Originally published on: 25/01/11 04:16
After he had so comprehensively dismantled Andy Roddick in the last 16 here in Melbourne, most thought that Stanislas Wawrinka was starting to believe. A tense battle with his Olympic medal-winning accomplice was in the offing, we thought. Maybe Stan could even pull off a mighty shock and scrape through to the first Grand Slam semi of his career.
‘Err no’, said Federer, who not only turned up on Rod Laver arena as fresh as a daisy, but the 16-time Grand Slam champ rolled over his friend and compatriot in an hour and forty-seven minutes.
Wawrinka began a little listlessly, appearing to let go of his racket more often than he had it in his hand in the opening set. Federer moved him around the court in Rod Laver Arena at will, forcing the man with arguably the game’s best single-handed backhand to lunge to all corners – once seeing his racket slide hopelessly across the surface as he tried to chase down a slick Federer drop shot. Wawrinka wasn’t given the chance to let loose on the backhand side as he had done so often against Roddick, and when he did, he seemed to strike it with less conviction.
Federer seized a second break –to add to his break in the opening game of the match – to see out a 29-minute first set. Wawrinka, featuring in his second Grand Slam quarter-final after making the last eight at the US Open last year, made more of a fist of it towards the latter end of the second set, but by then, the damage was done. Federer had already broken for a 5-3 lead, and despite some thrilling rallies – including one where Federer had to pull out a lobbed through-the-legs number just to stay in the point – the more masterful Swiss broke again for a two-set advantage.
He bossed the third in similar fashion, and befitting of where it went wrong for Stan, the match finished on a skewed Wawrinka backhand that handed Federer a 6-1 6-3 6-3 triumph.
“I needed a good performance,” Federer told Jim Courier in his on-court interview immediately after the tie, and the Swiss did exactly that. “When it’s clicking, it’s a really good feeling,” added Federer, who had typically complimentary words for Wawrinka despite his underwhelming showing.
“Maybe it was a bit of a battle for him to get used to the conditions after having two great battles at night,” reasoned Federer. “I thought Stan played a really amazing tournament.”
It may be over for the man all to often overshadowed as ‘the other Swiss’, but Federer rolls on to his eighth consecutive Australian Open semi-final – “a sickening record,” joked Courier – with either Novak Djokovic or Tomas Berdych, who each denied him in his last two Grand Slams, lying in wait.