Wawrinka beats Berdych in Australian Open semifinal

Jan. 23, 2014 at 7:39 AM
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MELBOURNE, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Stanislas Wawrinka edged Tomas Berdych in four sets Thursday and advanced to the finals of the Australian Open.

Wawrinka saw just one break point -- and saved it -- in a 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) victory over Berdych and gained a place in his first Grand Slam final.

He'll go into the 2014 Australian Open championship match against either world No. 1 Rafael Nadal or sixth-seeded Roger Federer. Federer, meeting a third straight Top 10 player, goes against Nadal Friday in their semifinal. Nadal is 22-10 lifetime versus Federer, including wins in the 2009 finals and 2012 semifinals in Melbourne.

Nadal and Federer have each lost just one set, which both came in the quarterfinals, in the tournament this year.

Wawrinka is a combined 25-1 against Nadal and Federer but was just 15-1 versus three-time defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic before posting a five-set win Tuesday over Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

The battle with Berdych was extremely close, with Wawrinka winning just one more point -- 143-142 -- over the course of the 3 1/2-hour match. Both players had 49 unforced errors and Berdych had a narrow 60-57 advantage in winners.

Wawrinka had the only break of the match in the eighth game Thursday after which he held serve for the first set. The only relatively long string in which Wawrinka wasn't sharp came in the second-set tie breaker when Berdych won the last six points and evened the match.

Wawrinka took advantage of two Berdych double faults -- the second at set point -- to claim the third-set tiebreaker and built a 4-1 lead on a first-point break and fifth-point double fault by Berdych. Wawrinka committed a double fault of his own on his first match point but then had a service winner to end the match.

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