Wawrinka through to US Open quarters as Djokovic retires

Published by Tennismash / Reuters

Novak Djokovic (R) embraces Stan Wawrinka after retiring in the third set of their fourth-round match at the US Open (Getty Images)
Leading two sets to love and a break up in the third, Stan Wawrinka advances to the US Open quarterfinals after top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic retires.

Stan Wawrinka is through to the US Open quarterfinals after opponent Novak Djokovic retired from their fourth-round match at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday night in New York.

Wawrinka led the world No.1 and defending champion 6-4 6-4 2-1 when Djokovic, struggling with a left shoulder injury, decided he could not continue.

The problem had plagued the top seed all tournament, and it finally became too much against a surging Wawrinka, who overwhelmed the Serb with his power and consistency.

After taking the first set, Wawrinka — who also reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros earlier this season — suffered a dip in his level and quickly fell behind 4-1.

Yet he stormed back, winning five straight games with the backing of vociferous crowd support to take a two-sets-to-love lead.

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Djokovic had his left shoulder worked on by the trainer after the second set, and was broken at love in the third game to trail 2-1.

That’s when he ended the match.

“It is never the way you want to finish a match. He is an amazing champion and we had amazing battles in the past,” Wawrinka said in his on-court interview.

“It has really been tough since my surgery. It feels amazing to be back at this level.”

Despite trailing the head-to-head against Djokovic 19-6, Wawrinka has emerged victorious in his past three meetings against Djokovic in Grand Slam tournaments.

Prior to Sunday night, he beat the 16-time major winner in the French Open final of 2015 and the 2016 US Open final.

In the quarterfinals, Wawrinka will face with in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev.

The fifth-seeded Russian came from a set down to knock off German qualifier Dominik Koepfer 3-6 6-3 6-2 7-6(2) and reach his maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal.

The New York crowd, angered by what tournament organisers called Medvedev’s ‘visible obscenity’ two nights earlier, were firmly behind Koepfer when he went a set and a break up.

But Medvedev kept his cool and eventually prevailed before again goading the crowd with his celebration, although this time the reaction from those at Louis Armstrong Stadium was more mixed.

“You give me so much energy to win – thank you,” he said. “You are the best!”

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