MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic continued an upsetting trend at the Australian Open. The three-time defending champion joined Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova as unexpected early departures from the season's first major with a quarterfinal loss Tuesday night to Stanislas Wawrinka.
Djokovic came into the match with 28 consecutive wins since losing last year's U.S Open final to Rafael Nadal, and 25 in a row at Melbourne Park since 2010.
But the figure that really mattered was 14 — the number of consecutive matches in which Djokovic had beaten Wawrinka back to 2007, including two five-set wins the last time they met in Grand Slam matches last year at the Australian and U.S Opens.
Djokovic held off Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in a 5-hour, 2-minute fourth-rounder here last year — the longest Grand Slam match of the season.
All those streaks ended in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 win Tuesday by Wawrinka, Roger Federer's sometimes Swiss doubles partner and who is into the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.
"Fourteen is enough," Wawrinka said. "After losing two times against him in Grand Slam in five sets, I'm really happy to take that one."
Federer, who will play Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in a quarterfinal on Wednesday, tweeted: "So deserving for Stan the man ..."
The match, which included a five-minute rain delay with Wawrinka serving at 5-5 in the deciding set, lasted exactly four hours and featured long rallies that tested the resolve, patience and shot-making ability of both players.
At the end, it was a mis-hit from Wawrinka on a service return that set up match point. Djokovic chased it to the net but his cross-court drop shot was too wide. He then missed a volley on match point.
"Didn't want to let him win that one," Warwinka said. "Got a little bit lucky in the last one. He missed easy shots. But in general in the fifth set I think I went for it."
Djokovic was quick to praise Wawrinka, heading to his media interview obligations just minutes after the match ended.
"He took his opportunities. He deserved his big win today," Djokovic said. "There's nothing I can say. I gave it my best, I gave it my all. It wasn't to be this time. He showed his mental strength and he deserved to win."
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