SWITZERLAND’S Stanislas Wawrinka spared a thought for an absent countryman after he powered through a high-quality match against Czech Tomas Berdych late on Tuesday to set up a quarter-final clash with Andy Murray at the US Open.
The ninth seed beat the fifth seeded Berdych 3-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-2 in two hours and 47 minutes on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Wawrinka, the player constantly living in the shadow of 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer in his homeland, was blown off the court by Berdych in the first set. But in a match featuring superb ball striking and a combined 68 winners, Wawrinka’s consistency proved the difference against the tall Czech.
He closed out the match by breaking Berdych’s serve for the sixth time to set up a quarter-final against defending champion Murray.
It is the first time Wawrinka has progressed further at a major championship than Federer, who was ousted by Spain’s Tommy Robredo in the fourth round.
“It’s a different situation, for sure,” Wawrinka told reporters. “I’m really happy for myself this year, with what I’m doing right now, but I would prefer to have him still playing in the tournament.
“I watched his match yesterday and it was not that good. I was sad for him, because he’s a good friend and I like when he’s winning grand slam titles. I hope he will come back stronger.”
Wawrinka said he was in career-best form ahead of his clash with Murray. “I’m playing my best tennis ever,” he said.
“Andy is a really good player. We practise a lot together. We have some really great battles when we play each other. I like to play him. I like his game. If I start well, if I stay with him, I have a good chance. I need to start well to show him I’m going to be there.”