29-year old defending Australian Open champion Stanislaus Wawrinka has played at his optimum level in this event. Were it not for the outstanding play of his semifinal opponent, the Swiss would be recognized as having played better than any other competitor. He has survived the toughest draw and done so in style. The tour rankings do not reflect it, but Wawrinka should be climbing the ranks and deserves a two ranking, ahead of Federer and Nadal.
These two champions have a common characteristic. When they take the court, it is all business, not about them or their legacy but about the game of tennis and playing at their highest level. We look for an economy of motion and emotion in this bruising battle.
The world’s top player has won this event four times. Djoko has won 7 total Grand Slam events. 27-year old Novak Djokovic is recognized as the best hard court player on the planet and in the history of the game. Novak gets high marks for every aspect of the game. His foot speed is outstanding, court coverage remarkable, discipline out of sight, fitness incomparable and ground strokes that compete with anyone tour player. Add to this that in the 2015 Australian Open he has lost serve only once, in the second round against Andrey Kuznetsov. Players are not getting opportunities to break Novak and the few chances opponents get, the Serb raises his level. Let’s just say that when it comes to holding serve Djokovic is extremely territorial. You never see Novak lose concentration. He will arrive on the Rod Laver Arena court with a plan and execute it.
But, Wawrinka knocked Novak out last year in the quarters. In their second head–to-head in 2014 at the Barclay’s, Djoko won a laugher (6-3, 6-2). En route to the semis, Stan had a battle with Spanish fireballer Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and followed with a tight but straight set win against the five seed Kei Nishikori. The defending champ lost serve once to Nishikori but four times to the Spaniard. Stan will have to up his defense against the forward pressing Djoko.
Wawrinka lost in the quarters at the US Open and at Wimbledon. His win here last year marked the first time he has survived the fourth round of a major. It is not easy playing in the shadow of the great Federer.
In their 19 head-to-hear matches, Djokovic has won 16 times. Novak is a decided favorite. I feel the odds are a little top heavy but I see Djokovic moving on in three sets. As Murray moved Berdych around the court, look for Novak to do the same to the Swiss.
The 2015 Australian Open is poised to have one heck of a final with the Scot and the Serb going at it.
Novak Djokovic v Stan Wawrinka Head to Head 16 : 3