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Wawrinka should be backed to keep dream alive

| 20.01.2014

Stanislas Wawrinka deserves all the credit he is receiving for finally overcoming reigning champion Novak Djokovic in the last round and Switzerland’s number two should be backed to make his first Grand Slam final.

Wawrinka went into his match with the world number two as a 6/1 underdog but served incredibly well and took his chances when needed to record only his fourth victory over the Serb from 20 attempts.

It was a fitting reward for the 28-year-old after losing out to Djokovic in the final set of both their US and Australian Open matches last year and he will justifiably believe he should make the final and potentially set up an all-Swiss clash with friend and Davis Cup double partner Roger Federer.

Those that follow the game won’t be surprised to see Wawrinka in this position as the world number eight has been threatening such a run for the last two years, cementing himself in the group just below the game’s golden quartet of Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Federer et al.

The likeable right hander has not had the most difficult of routes to meeting Djokovic having come through as expected against the limited duo of Andrey Golubev and Alejandro Falla in the opening two rounds before being given a bye next up in what looked like a difficult third round clash against the increasingly dangerous Vasek Popsipil.

A straight sets victory over the evergreen Tommy Robredo in the fourth round set-up him up perfectly for his third last-eight appearance at a major and he took his opportunity with both hands.

The bookmakers have rightly priced up Wawrinka as their 4/6 favourite against Tomas Berdych largely because of his personal history with the Czech number one.

Although the favourite only leads their head-to-head 8-5 he has won six of their last seven contests with the only defeat in that sequence coming in their Davis Cup rubber last year.

World number seven Berdych has been extremely impressive so far in the tournament, making mincemeat of his quarter before beating world number three David Ferrer for the loss of only one set – his first of the fortnight – in the last-eight.

The 28-year-old went into that match having lost eight of his previous 12 meetings with the Spaniard, however, crucially he had been triumphant the last time they played.

That is not the case against Wawrinka and the emerging hero of Swiss tennis should be supported to step even further out of Federer’s shadow and send his nation into raptures as they contemplate the first ever Grand Slam final which they can be certain of a home win.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster