There wasn’t much between Stanislas Wawrinka and Sam Querrey on Friday, but what little there was propelled the Swiss No.2 into the fourth round at Australian Open 2013.
Wawrinka, the 15th seed, knocked the last American man left in the tournament out in a hard-fought 7-6(6) 7-5 6-4 victory that set up a meeting with reigning champion and top seed Novak Djokovic.
“He played really well,” said the 20th-ranked Querrey, who said the difference his performance and Wawrinka’s was minimal.
“These courts are quick and he has a nasty slice. But I feel good where my game is at and have had a good start to the year.”
The opening set came down to a tiebreaker, with Wawrinka forced to wait to take advantage of his third set point to close out the set. The Swiss hit a forehand crosscourt winner at 6-6, and then when serving at 7-6, was helped by Querrey, who belted a backhand return wide.
Wawrinka was serving at 7-6 6-5 in the second set when he scored the first service break of the match. Querrey was unable to hold onto his serve when at ad-out he could only watch Wawrinka hit a snazzy overhead.
In the third set, Wawrinka quickly went ahead 3-0, but Querrey refused to back down, pushing to even the score at 4-4. Wawrinka, however, finally closed it out on his fourth match point in the final game with a backhand winner down the line.
“I’m really really happy it was a tough match,” Wawrinka said.
“Today I played good and I love to play here. My game is there.”
The challenge will get considerably steeper for Wawrinka when he faces Djokovic, the world No. 1, in the next round.
Currently without a personal coach, Wawrinka’s been relying on Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi, who is traveling with Wawrinka’s good friend, Roger Federer, to offer some advice.
Wawrinka also relied on some boisterous moral support from a group of Swiss fans on Friday, who he is hoping will come out again when he plays Djokovic.
“I will need some support, for sure, because he (Djokovic) is the best player and playing some amazing tennis,” Wawrinka said.
“I’m going to enjoy my match today and then worry about next match.”
As for the stars and stripes, it still waves over Melbourne Park with third-seeded Serena Williams, 29th-seeded Sloane Stephens and unseeded Jamie Hampton scheduled for third round women’s action on Saturday.