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2015 Australian Open Stan Wawrinka fends off Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

Stan Wawrinka narrowly avoided playing a five-setter, downing Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the Australian Open fourth round.

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Stan Wawrinka advanced to the Australian Open quarter-finals on Monday, the defending champion battling past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in four sets.

In 2014, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez was Stan Wawrinka's reminder that grand slam tennis was not all plain sailing.

One year on, Wawrinka reminded Garcia-Lopez of the status quo - the Swiss was the defending champion, the Spaniard was in new territory.

Never before had Garcia-Lopez reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park, like Wawrinka had never won a major 12 months back.

But Garcia-Lopez did not create his own history, Wawrinka instead added to his own remarkable narrative in Australia - the fourth seed progressing 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) in three hours two minutes.

The pair's previous meeting was in round one of the 2014 French Open, and freshly crowned major champion Wawrinka was humbled in four sets by Garcia-Lopez.

The signs of a repeat were good early for the Spaniard but a leaky roof came at the wrong time for him, as the clean up halted play after he had broken for a 3-2 lead in the first set.

Wawrinka broke back to love at the resumption but Garcia-Lopez would still have the chance to serve for the first set - only to be broken to 15 in the 10th game.

The opportunity missed came back to hurt him in the tie-break, which Wawrinka claimed courtesy of back-to-back aces.

They saw his winners tally hit 20 for the first set, with Wawrinka the aggressor of the two - compared to Garcia-Lopez's 12.

Wawrinka broke in the fourth game of the second set and it would be all he required to build a two-set lead, serving out the 10th game with three winners and an unreturnable serve.

A double fault in the third game of the third set saw Garcia-Lopez trail again by a break deficit, and the world number 37 was looking down the barrel of straight sets defeat.

But the veteran battled back gamely and took the set - needing only two break-point chances, and benefitting from 18 unforced errors from Wawrinka.

Garcia-Lopez was on the verge of forcing a fifth set when he led 6-2 in the fourth set tie-break, but Wawrinka gamely saved those set points - plus another at 7-8 - to avoid a decider.

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