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(CNN) - In an era in which men's tennis has been dominated by the "big 3", Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka can sometimes be a forgotten man.
The 34-year-old Swiss has won three great titles, and all three against members of the Big 3.
Guess what? He is still here.
On Sunday night in New York, Wawrinka attacked again, surprising Djokovic, world number 1 and defending champion of the United States Open, with a score of 6-4, 7-5, 2-1 to advance to quarters of final. It was a rematch of the 2016 US Open final, which Wawrinka won in four sets.
Djokovic, who has been fighting against a left shoulder injury, decided to retire in the third set when Wawrinka was winning, which caused boos of the audience at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
With the defeat, the Serbian, who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier this year to get his 15 and 16 titles, could not approach the 18 of Nadal and the 20 of Federer in the list of top male winners of all the times.
"It's never the way you would like to end a game," Wawrinka said on the court. “I'm really sorry for Novak. He is a good friend. He is an amazing champion. We have had some incredible battles throughout my career. I fell pity for him. I want to keep my level (since) tonight. I think he was playing very good tennis. I am happy to return. ”
Wawrinka underwent two knee surgeries in 2017 and since then he has been climbing again in the ranking. He is currently in 24th place and is seeded number 23 in the US Open. His highest position during his career was number 3, in 2014.
"It has been really difficult since my surgery," Wawrinka said. “It took me two years to return to that level. The last time I entered this field was last year. I wasn't really ready, but it was amazing to be back this year at this level. The atmosphere is always something special when playing a night session. ”
After Wawrinka won the first set, Djokovic took a 3-0 lead in the second set. But the Swiss made Djokovic go through difficult times, which led to mistakes that are not normally seen in world number 1. After losing the second set, the coach worked on Djokovic's shoulder.
Once Djokovic made a double mistake at the beginning of the third set, it all ended for him. At the time of retirement, Djokovic added 35 unforced errors.
Wawrinka, meanwhile, won 84% of his first service points in 32 of 38 against possibly the player who improves returns.
Wawrinka's record against world number 1, with a 5-21 mark, in principle does not seem impressive. But after a 0-15 start, it has gone 5-6 since then, including victory over Andy Murray in the 2017 French Open semifinals; Djokovic in the final of the 2015 French Open and the 2016 US Open final; and against Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open final.
His history of direct clashes against Djokovic is now 6-19.
Wawrinka will face No. 5 Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals.