Defending Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka insisted his focus was only on winning the next match and not the title after clinching a thrilling fourth set tiebreaker to down Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez Monday.
The fourth seed prevailed 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10/8) in just over three hours and will play Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the last eight.
Garcia-Lopez, who knocked Wawrinka out in the first round at last year’s French Open, held four set points at 6-2 in the tiebreaker to take the match into a fifth set before the Swiss star roared back.
Wawrinka had match point at 7-6 before the Spaniard got a fifth set point only to again be denied. He then clinched it on his second match point.
“At 6-2 I knew it was close to come back because I had the wind with me,” the Swiss said.
“I had to focus on every point. I knew if I was going to come back at 6-5, he was going to get nervous. I did a good passing shot, along the line. I just focused point after point.”
Wawrinka looked to be strolling to a straight sets victory before Garcia-Lopez launched his fightback on Margaret Court Arena.
“I made maybe two mistakes then he started to play a little bit faster, a little bit more flat,” Wawrinka said.
“I started to be on my defensive a little bit too much. But I’m happy to get through. It was important to win that match again. It’s great for me to be in quarter-final and still be in it.”
Despite Wawrinka showing good form, he is not yet ready to think about winning back-to-back titles.
“I’m not focused on winning a major. I’m taking it match after match,” he insisted.
“I know it’s difficult to do it. It’s amazing I already did one. I’m just happy to still be here playing greattennis so far.”
On facing Nishikori in the quarters, Wawrinka said: “He’s a tough player. He improved a lot last year. I played against him at the US Open, five-set match.
“He’s a great shot maker. He can make winners. He’s always takes the ball really early. It’s always tough to play against him. He doesn’t give you a lot of time.”
Wawrinka said his game was coming together nicely after four wins to remain unbeaten in 11 matches at the Australian Open.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing so far. I’m ready for the tournament. My game is there. I haven’t spent too much energy on the court,” he said.
Both players got four service breaks each, while Wawrinka hit 70 winners and made 61 unforced errors. He served at 63 percent and won 76 percent of his first serves. – Agence France-Presse