Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Wawrinka closer to a repeat

Two players who both managed to defeat Novak Djokovic at Grand Slam level in 2014 would fight for a semi final spot to possibly play the number one seed should he win through in the later quarter final.

Wawrinka is the reigning champion and 4th seed while Nishikori is the 5th seed.

Wawrinka served first and after four games had already achieved a break, thanks to Nishikori's string of unforced errors - Stan had begun with his backhand firing and serving beautifully. 3-1 Wawrinka.

Nishikori knuckled down to the task, holding serve competently until 2-5 where he had to save a couple of set points with winners off his forehand.

Wawrinka moved on unfazed to record an opening set triumph 6-3, recovering from a double fault and 15-30.

Nishikori opened the second set with a hold as did Wawrinka who added two more aces to his tally.  Not to be outdone, Kei served three aces in the next game, one to save a break point. Wawrinka levelled at 2-2 behind some solid backhands but that is no surprise.

Nishikori's hopes of winning the match took a turn for the worse when at 15-40 he could only save one break point with a forehand volley before being forced into backhand trauma. Wawrinka now 3-2 and in cruise control. 

A love game with the now apparent quota of two aces per service game took Wawrinka to 4-2 and only some begging and pleading from an impassioned Nishikori saw the Swiss player take pity and allow the next three break points to pass without incident.

Wawrinka could find himself in trouble with officials after he accidentally served three aces in his next game, a clear violation of the quota. The game was won by Wawrinka and the following one by Nishikori leaving the score at 5-4 and the Swiss serve to come.

Stan served an ace but winners from Kei enabled the production of two break points, both of which amounted to nothing. Another one was saved with an ace after which Kei decided this was going nowhere and agreed that the set should be sent to Switzerland 6-4.

Nishikori won the first eight points of set three which equated to 2-0 and for once there was hint of a challenge.  Ever the killjoy Wawrinka snuffed out the short term hopes by breaking back to love in an instant.

Serves were held in the next two games which like the first three lasted the minimum four points. Energy saving stuff from these guys.

Wawrinka expressed concern over his dearth of aces of late so he bashed one in the sixth game plus a backhand winner to keep in practice. This also only took four points to win.

The seventh game was a marathon affair, taking a massive five points to determine that Nishikori had landed it, ace and volley winner included.
4-3 to Kei.

Three more love games en route to the inevitable tiebreak (two Swiss aces to conclude the twelfth game) and Wawrinka soon gave Nishikori the slip.

A Japanese unforced error then two more Swiss aces gave Stan 3-0.  Another ace and a forehand volley winner moved it to 6-1 and five match points, the first two on Nishikori's serve.

Wawrinka was forced into error twice on his backhand and then produced two nervous forehand mistakes which when combined with a classy winner from Nishikori brought the score to 6-6.

After all that hard work Nishikori missed with a forehand of his own and Wawrinka had another match point.  

Fittingly it was the 20th ace of the match for Wawrinka which won the final point, and the semi final berth was his 6-3 6-4 7-6

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