Tennis world number two Novak Djokovic has lost out on the chance to clinch a fourth consecutive Australian Open title. The Serb, trained by Germany's Boris Becker, went out to Swiss eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka.
Switzerland's Wawrinka (pictured right) stunned Djokovic on Tuesday, dumping him out of the Australian Open in a dramatic quarterfinal that went to five sets.
The defeat ended Djokovic's 25-match wining run at Melbourne Park, where he last year claimed a third Australian title in succession.
The four-hour thriller on center court in the Rod Laver Arena, saw Wawrinka finally overcome Djokovic, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7. It was a disappointment for Djokovic, as well as his new German co-coach Boris Becker, although the Serb was quick to pay tribute to his opponent.
"He took his opportunities" said Djokovic. "He deserved his big win today. It was a tough battle mentally, physically, emotionally obviously. This is what happens when you play a top player on this stage, when you go the distance in the fifth."
Roller coaster showdown
Becker could only watch from the sidelines as Djokovic went from winning the first set convincingly to narrowly losing the second. The champion battled his way back through the match, breaking Wawrinka's serve in the fifth. However, the Swiss was able to break back - and then go on to win the match.
"Novak played very well for one-and-a-half sets," said six-time Grand Slam winner Becker. "Then Wawrinka found an unbelievable new level."
As a four-time Australian Open champion, Djokovic had been the tournament favorite after a favorable draw in which he landed on the opposite side of the tournament from top-ranked Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer.
Djokovic added Becker to his coaching team in December, in an effort to add to his own tally of six Grand Slam titles. In doing so, he joined a growing trend of top players hiring the expertise of former tennis greats, with Sweden's Stefan Edberg coaching Federer and Czech favorite Ivan Lendl helping Murray.
rc/slk (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)