Alexander Zverev beats Stan Wawrinka at Australian Open to reach first major semi-final
Zverev will face Dominic Thiem in semi-finals, with winner playing Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer in final
Last Updated: 29/01/20 3:14pm
Alexander Zverev recovered from a slow start to beat Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open and reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.
The 22-year-old German went into the clash having not dropped a set and overcame the 2014 champion 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2.
Having been criticised for under-performing at the slams, there is a certain irony that Zverev's big breakthrough has come at a tournament where expectations were probably at their lowest.
"It feels awesome, I don't know what to say," Zverev said. "I have done well in other tournaments, I have won Masters, I have won the World Tour finals but I never could break that barrier in the Grand Slams.
"You cannot imagine what this means to me and I hope this will be the first of many."
Zverev had a difficult 2019 and arrived in Melbourne with his serve apparently in crisis and having lost all three of his matches playing for Germany at the ATP Cup.
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But his serve has clicked back into gear here and he has shown the sort of efficiency that had proved elusive at the biggest tournaments.
He won just 11 points in the first set against 2014 champion Wawrinka, who felt his quarter-final victory over Daniil Medvedev was the best he had played since knee surgery two-and-a-half years ago.
That came over five gruelling sets and this was perhaps a match too far, with the veteran Swiss unable to sustain the pace as Zverev moved through to a semi-final clash against Dominic Thiem, who beat Rafael Nadal in four sets.
The seventh seed is now only two victories away from being able to fulfil his promise to donate all his prize money to the wildfire relief efforts should he go on to lift the trophy.