Cibulkova pulled for Wawrinka because she could relate

by: Matt Cronin January 21, 2014

AP Photo

Dominika Cibulkova, who has reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time, said she was pulling for Stanislas Wawrinka to beat Novak Djokovic because she can relate to having to recover from tough losses. Wawrinka had lost two five-set matches to Djokovic before winning their five-set quarterfinal this week.

“That's something of course that is not easy, because if you have such a bad loss against somebody, you come into this match, you know what happened in the past and you cannot forget it,” she said. “You just have to go against it to be stronger than what happened before. I was cheering for him. I know what does it mean to lose such a match like he lost last year. I never play on five sets, but I lost matches like this before. I know what does it mean to be on the same spot against same player. You just want to prove it to yourself that you can do it, and that's what he did it.”

Wawrinka said he had to push himself hard mentally to stay in the contest.

“I cannot just let the match goes,” Wawrinka said. “I don't want to lose every time in five set against Novak. I had to find solution. I had to fight within myself to fight against him and try to keep my line during the game. That's mean being really aggressive, serve better. That's what I did. That's why I won the match tonight.”

The eighth-ranked Wawrinka, who has reached his first Australian Open semifinal, added while the Big 4 of Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray are better players than the rest of the tour, “you have to deal with that. You have to fight. I know that the only thing I can control is what I'm doing off the court: My practice, how I do my schedule. I always try to improve. I always try to find solution to change my game a little bit, to improve, to find solution when I play against the top player…I came on the court tonight with a lot of confidence on myself, knowing that if I play my best game, I always have a chance against him.”

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