One step at a time, says Wawrinka on reaching last 8
DEFENDING Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka insisted that his focus was only on winning the next match and not the title, after clinching a thrilling fourth-set tie-breaker to down Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez yesterday.
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 tie-breaker 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'm just happy to still be here playing great tennis 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 United States Open, five-set match.
"He's a great shot-maker. He can make winners. He always takes the ball really early. It's always tough to play against him. He doesn't give you a lot of time."