- Australian Open, Day Seven
Djokovic: Wawrinka victory my very best
Novak Djokovic ranked Sunday's triumph over Stanislas Wawrinka "at the very top" of his career victories, after he fought back from 6-1 5-2 down to advance to the Australian Open quarter-finals.
The defending champion looked in serious danger of a shock exit to the Swiss as Wawrinka continually hit the lines in an impressive baseline assault.
Not only did Djokovic have to battle to get back on terms at 1-1, he also found himself a break down in the fifth set, before eventually edging through 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7(5) 12-10. The match ended at 1.41am local time.
The world No. 1 is no stranger to epic encounters, beating Andy Murray in almost five hours to advance from last year's semi-finals before taking almost six hours to see off Rafael Nadal in the final. Yet he ranked his win against Wawrinka right up with those achievements.
"It definitely ranks right at the top," Djokovic said. "One of the longest, most interesting, and most exciting matches I have played in my career.
"Even though I was 6-1 5-2 down, I believed that I can come back if I am two sets down. I've been in those situations before. I was just outplayed by my opponent. He was better on the court for the first hour-and-a-half, no question about it.
"In these circumstances, when you're not playing the way you want to play, you just try to fight and hope for the best."
Wawrinka, clearly downbeat after falling short, nevertheless acknowledged his own part in the drama, insisting he has never played better.
"I think it's by far the best match I've ever played, especially in five sets against the number one player," Wawrinka said.
"Especially as I was dealing with myself all the five hours, trying to always find a solution, trying to always fight against myself and against him to stay with him.
"At the end I was really, really close. For sure I'm really sad. It's a big disappointment to lose that match, but I think there are more positives than negatives."
Djokovic will now face Tomas Berdych in the last-eight, riding a run of 18 straight victories at the Australia Open. He cannot meet British No. 1 Murray until the final.