Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka stunned three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open yesterday in a huge shock which threw the men's competition into a flux.
The eighth seed triumphed after a pulsating five-set quarter-final which ran for exactly four hours and finished 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 when Djokovic volleyed out on the first match-point.
It was a personal triumph for Wawrinka, 28, who took Djokovic the distance in last year's fourth round and was also denied by the Serb in another five-setter at the US Open.
Wawrinka's win halted Djokovic's 25-match winning streak at the Australian Open, which stretched back to 2011 and included 2012's record, six-hour final against Rafael Nadal.
It also snapped the six-time Grand Slam champion's sequence of 14 straight Major semi-finals, and broke a 28-match unbeaten run dating back to the US Open final last September.
"Last year (at the Australian Open), I didn't finish it and it was really tough. But this year I came back, it's a new year and I was feeling really good," Wawrinka said.
"I tried everything, he's an amazing champion... I'm really, really, really, really happy."
Wawrinka, who was cramping by the end and headed straight for an ice bath, goes into his second Grand Slam semi-final where he will face Tomas Berdych after the Czech ousted third seed David Ferrer 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 yesterday.
Djokovic bombed through the first set in just over half an hour but he stumbled in the second, and looked increasingly tight in the third, as Wawrinka took a two-sets-to-one lead.
The champion was tottering, but just when he looked to be heading out against the increasingly confident Swiss, he broke for 5-3 in the fourth set, letting out a mighty yell to the heavens.
He sealed the set with an ace to take it into a fifth, where they exchanged early breaks and Wawrinka staved off another break-point at 2-1 down with a titanic 31-shot rally.
The decider stretched on until the 16th game when a Djokovic error gave Wawrinka a match-point.
And as the clock ticked over to four hours, the Serb's long reign crumbled when he put a volley out.
In defeat he paid tribute to Wawrinka and reflected on his previous success at the Australian Open.
"Yeah, it's an amazing court, probably the court where I had most excitement in my tennis career. I mean matches with Rafa (Nadal), with Stan last year and this year, some epic battles.
"I've won many trophies in Australia. I love Rod Laver Arena. These are kind of matches that you work for, you live for, you practise for.
"This is definitely by far my most successful Grand Slam.
"You know, unfortunately somebody has to lose in the end. This year was me. I lost to a better player." - AFP.