Can Stanislas Wawrinka win the Australian Open?

Does Stanislas Wawrinka have enough to win his first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open on Sunday?

It has been confirmed that following Stanislas Wawrinka's Australian Open semi-final win over Tomas Berdych on Thursday there will be a new participant in a Grand Slam final. The Swiss number eight seed will be taking on the winner of Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer in Sunday's showdown.

But does he stand a chance? It has to be said that anyone who has the ability to knock out Novak Djokovic, even if the Serb was not playing at his best in their quarter-final, could definitely upset his Swiss compatriot or the fit and firing Spaniard. He also has the extra day's rest, which could prove important.

Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka shakes hands as he celebrates after victory in his men's singles match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic on day nine at the 2014 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2014© Getty Images

As a big-serving, hard-hitting player who excels at the baseline, the key for Wawrinka on Sunday will be how well he can maintain his consistency in his shots. Similar to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga throughout his career, Wawrinka at his powerful best can beat anyone on his day, but there are often dips in his level which allows the world's best time to craft points in his off-moments.

For this very reason, Wawrinka's best chance on Sunday could well be against his fellow Swiss player and not world number one Nadal. The Spaniard has a similar baseline game, but has mastered it better than anyone since the days of Pete Sampras. There are very few lulls in his concentration throughout the course of a match and Wawrinka will need to play the match of his life to even get close, you would think.

It was at last year's Australian Open, after a five-hour epic in the fourth round that Djokovic just managed to edge where Wawrinka started to believe he could challenge the top four. Then, a year later, he exacted his revenge in what was only his third win over the Serb in 18 encounters. Djokovic had won the last three Opens in Melbourne, so now surely Wawrinka was in with a shout?

Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka celebrates victory in his men's singles match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic on day nine at the 2014 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2014© Getty Images

Of course, Wawrinka is not strictly a baseline player these days. While his forte remains play from deep in the court, he has shown in this tournament so far that he is not afraid to make moves to the net or even serve and volley. That could well be the influence of new coach Magnus Norman, but despite this the Swiss will continue to rely on his groundstrokes and thunderous backhand.

His is surely the best backhand in the business, but if not then then certainly the best one-hander. This, should he end up facing Federer, could be his big weapon. Federer himself owns one of the best backhands to watch, but throughout this tournament Wawrinka's has simply got better and better. Against the excellent Berdych and Djokovic it really was firing and both his potential opponents would be acutely aware of its threat.

Another key factor throughout this Open so far is Wawrinka's serve. It has got better as the Open has gone on, with the number of aces increasing in each match up to 18 against Berdych. His 17 against Djokovic, who is widely regarded as the best returner in the game, will certainly make his potential opponent sit up and take notice.

Stanislas Wawrinka celebrates after his win over Tommy Robredo in their Australian Open fourth round match on January 19, 2014© Getty Images

It still remains that a 32-year-old Federer - who, although improved in recent months, is still not quite the same player he once was - is Wawrinka's best shot at Grand Slam glory. Despite a lull against Djokovic, which was 72%, Wawrinka has won more than 80% of his first-serve points in every match so far. This is the sort of level he would need against either finalist.

Indeed, should he face Rafa on Sunday, his serve might be his only chance. Even though through 2013 and the start of 2014 Wawrinka has been a lot more accurate from the baseline, The Spaniard is the last player in the world game that any other player would want to take on in a rally. Whoever he ends up playing will certainly have a game on their hands, even if his likely opponent Nadal would be the strong favourite. It is time for Wawrinka to step up if he is to crash the top four.

Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka celebrates victory in his men's singles match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic on day nine at the 2014 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2014
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ATP RankingsPoints
1Scotland flag Andy Murray7,750
2Spain Rafael Nadal7,555
3Switzerland Roger Federer7,145
4Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka5,780
5Serbia Novak Djokovic5,325
6Croatia Marin Cilic5,155
7Alexander Zverev4,470
8Austria Dominic Thiem4,030
9Japan Kei Nishikori3,285
10Canada Milos Raonic3,230
11Bulgaria Grigor Dimitrov3,070
12France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga2,770
13Belgium David Goffin2,560
14Spain Roberto Bautista Agut2,425
15Czech Republic Tomas Berdych2,390
16United States Jack Sock2,335
17Pablo Carreno Busta2,305
18Lucas Pouille2,220
19United States John Isner2,110
20United States Sam Querrey2,060