Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka are set for an eagerly awaited semi-final clash at the US Open. Can Wawrinka spring another major upset?
Novak Djokovic is just two wins away from winning back the US Open title and it's looking like he's on course for a meeting in the final with Rafael Nadal. That said, we've learned not to take everything for granted in Flushing Meadows as the Roger Federer versus Nadal quarter-final never happened, and Andy Murray failed in his bid to set up a semi-final showdown with Novak. Instead, it's Stanislas Wawrinka who will take on the World No. 1 in Saturday's semi-finals.
Whilst Djokovic dropped a set in his quarter-final run in with Mikhail Youzhny, he responded with a bagel to claim a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 victory. This didn't cause much of a stir, though Wawrinka's three set dismissal of Murray caught pretty much everyone by surprise. The Swiss No. 2 didn't face a single break point as he took apart the defending champion for a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 triumph.
Ahead of the semi-finals Djokovic holds a 12-2 head to head record against Wawrinka, and to make matters worse for the World No. 10 he's lost his last 11 matches against the Serb. In this respect it looks like Novak should have the win in the bag, but there are other factors to consider.
Firstly, Wawrinka has been in outstanding form. Murray simply couldn't touch him on Thursday and the sight of the third seed not earning a single break point was astonishing. The Scot is undoubtedly one of the greatest returners of serve of all time.
Secondly, Wawrinka's last match against Djokovic was a thriller, and most certainly a contender for best match of the 2013 season. Novak prevailed in five sets, but the decider could hardly have been more tense as the match finished 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(5), 12-10.
Wawrinka will be hoping that he can record another sensational upset on Saturday. He'll need to bring his usual level of intensity and hope that his magnificent backhand is operating as smoothly as possible. Even so, breaking down Djokovic's defence is going to require heroics and it's fair to say that the top seed is the probable victor.