Djokovic survives huge scare
A review of the action in the men's singles on day seven of the Australian Open, with a huge scare for Novak Djokovic.
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World number one Novak Djokovic kept his hopes of a third successive Australian Open title alive with an extraordinary defeat of Stanislas Wawrinka.
Djokovic came through 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 12-10 in five hours and two minutes of absorbing tennis against an opponent who was inspired.
Having withstood an early Wawrinka barrage it seemed the momentum had turned in the Serbian's favour when he claimed sets two and three.
But back came Wawrinka to win the fourth in an epic tie-break to take it to a decider which could have gone either way until Djokovic finally made the breakthrough with the match finishing at 1.43am local time.
"It's really hard to find the words to describe the feeling we had tonight, especially in the fifth set," said Djokovic.
"He equally deserved to be a winner of this match. I give him a lot of credit, he has my respect. He showed his quality and was the aggressive player on the court."
Fourth seed David Ferrer cruised past Kei Nishikori with what he described as "one of the best matches of my career at the Australian Open".
Nishikori, the 16th seed, offered little threat to the Spaniard who won 6-2 6-1 6-4 in two hours and 10 minutes to advance to his third successive quarter-final in Melbourne.
Ferrer broke twice in each of the first two sets to set up a comfortable win. The third was wild as Nishikori started to go for broke but, hampered by a knee injury, he failed to seriously threaten Ferrer's chances of victory.
The fourth seed said: "It was a tough match but in the first two sets I didn't make any mistakes.
"Today I played very well, it was one of the best matches of my career at the Australian Open.
"I'm happy with my game."
His run this week means Ferrer will move into the top four of the world rankings but the modest 30-year-old admits he is some way behind established quartet Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and the injured Rafael Nadal.
He added: "I am only in the top four because Rafa has been injured for a long time. That is the truth.
"I think the top four, they are better (than me)."
Ferrer will take on another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro, in the last eight after he advanced when Janko Tipsarevic had to withdraw through injury.
Serbian Tipsarevic won his previous two matches - against Lukas Lacko and Julien Benneteau - in five sets but was trailing 6-2 5-1 when he pulled out with a jarred heel.
Almagro said: "That's not the way you want to win. But that's sport.
"Sometimes you can't do your best and you need to stop. I think he made the best decision."
Almagro, seeded number 10, has lost all 12 of his previous matches with Ferrer but is hoping to buck that trend and reach his first grand slam semi-final.
"It will be a good fight. I know him and he knows me," he said.
"It is a big opportunity for me to be in a semi-final. I'm ready to fight. I'm healthy and happy with my tennis.
"I think I'm playing really well and we'll see what will happen on Tuesday."
Fifth-seed Tomas Berdych moved into his third consecutive Australian Open quarter-final with a straight sets victory over South Africa's Kevin Anderson.
The 2010 Wimbledon runner-up completed a 6-3 6-2 7-6 win to keep him on course for a last-eight clash with top-seed Novak Djokovic, with the world No1 playing Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka later on Sunday.
Berdych fought off five set points in the third set against Anderson and finally closed out on his fifth match point when the South African hit a forehand long after two hours and 44 minutes.
The Czech player, who helped his country to victory in the Davis Cup final in November, has yet to drop a set in the tournament.
Anderson had upset No 22-seeded Fernando Verdasco to reach the fourth round - his best showing at a major.
"I had chances all through the third set that I should have taken but I'm happy I made it through," Berdych said.
"It will be my third quarter-final. Lucky third time, this should be the one, right? If I play Novak, it's going to be a great match, a tough battle.
"I don't want the same result as the last two times I was in the quarter-finals."