Djokovic prepares for Berdych after epic win
Novak Djokovic yesterday insisted he could pull off another miracle recovery in time for his Australian Open quarter-final with Tomas Berdych after his epic five-hour duel with Stanislas Wawrinka.
The Serbian world No 1's title defence was severely endangered when he was surprisingly taken to the brink by the Swiss 15th seed, before finally prevailing 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 12-10 in just over five hours.
Last year, Djokovic came out on top over Rafael Nadal to win a gruelling five-hour, 53-minute final. That came two days after Djokovic saw off Andy Murray in a five-set semi-final over four hours and 50 minutes.
"I've been in these situations before," Djokovic said."I know I can recover. I'm not too much worried about the physical part. I was ready for it. I was ready to go the distance, and I've done so."
Djokovic leads the big-serving Berdych 11-1 in their matches, but it is 1-1 in grand slams with the Czech getting the better of him in straight sets in the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2010.
Djokovic had a look of relief when Wawrinka lost a thrilling rally on the third match point to end their remarkable contest.
"I'm just thrilled to be able to fight once again up to the last moment," he said. "I didn't play nearly my best and I didn't feel well on the court in terms of rhythm and ball-striking.
"But credit to him [Wawrinka], he made me run all over the court. He never gave me the same ball. He was aggressive from both sides.
"I didn't know what's coming up next. So I'm just really full of joy after the match."