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Men's Match of Decade No. 3: Djokovic d. Wawrinka, 2013 Aussie Open

Men's Match of Decade No. 3: Djokovic d. Wawrinka, 2013 Aussie Open

In their fourth-round clash, the Serbian, who won, 1–6, 7–5, 6–4, 6–7 (5), 12–10, and the Swiss one-upped each other—a spectacular shot from one was followed by something better from the other.

Big Three. Big ballers. Big scores. The 2010s were defined by giant-sized contents on the men's side, which we'll review over the next two weeks.

See the entire men's and women's lists here, and relive each match with our video retrospectives.


“Fail better,” the tattoo on Stan Wawrinka’s forearm reads. Few players have taken their body’s advice as literally, and brilliantly, as he would on this night.

By 2013, Wawrinka, despite owning a one-handed backhand to die for, had largely been written off as cannon fodder for the Big 3. He was 3-44 against them, and had lost 10 straight matches to Djokovic. But it didn’t take long on this evening for Wawrinka to show that, rather than the fodder, he was going to be the cannon.

Wawrinka began with a shot-making barrage of winners that lasted until he led 6–1, 5–2. One more game and he would have a virtually insurmountable lead. Not surprisingly, that was when Djokovic came to life. He won the next five games to level the match.


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Over the next three sets, Djokovic and Wawrinka played a long game of one-upsmanship—a spectacular shot from one of them was followed by something even better from the other. Djokovic was in control in the third set, until Wawrinka broke free again and won a spine-tingling fourth-set tiebreaker. In the fifth, they squared off for 22 games, until, at 1:40 A.M., on his third match point, Djokovic came up with the most spectacular shot of all: A curling backhand pass that eluded Wawrinka’s outstretched racquet by an inch.

“I think it was the best match I ever played,” Wawrinka said. He had failed well; now it was time to succeed.

The next year in Melbourne, Wawrinka beat Djokovic and won the title.