Tennis-Wawrinka carries Swiss hopes in absence of Federer


By Will Swanton

NEW YORK, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka spared a thought for an absent countryman after he powered through a high-quality match against Czech Tomas Berdych on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open.

The ninth seed beat the fifth seeded Berdych 3-6 6-1 7-6(6) 6-2 in two hours and 47 minutes on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Wawrinka, the player constantly living in the shadow of 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer in his homeland, was blown off the court by Berdych in the first set.

But in a match featuring superb ball striking and a combined 68 winners, Wawrinka's consistency proved the difference against the tall Czech.

He closed out the match by breaking Berdych's serve for the sixth time to set up a quarter-final against Britain's defending champion Andy Murray.

It is the first time Wawrinka has progressed further at a major championship that Federer, who was ousted by Spain's Tommy Robredo in the fourth round.

"It's a different situation, for sure," Wawrinka told reporters. "I'm really happy for myself this year, with what I'm doing right now, but I would prefer to have him still playing in the tournament.

"I watched his match yesterday and it was not that good. I was sad for him, because he's a good friend and I like when he's winning grand slam titles. I hope he will come back stronger."

Wawrinka said he was in career-best form ahead of his clash with Murray.

"I think I play my best tennis ever," he said.

"Andy is a really good player. We practice a lot together. We have some really great battles when we play each other. I like to play him. I like his game. I think if I start well, if I stay with him, I have a good chance.

"I need to start well to show him I'm going to be there." (Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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