Seppi stuns Federer in Australian Open thrid round

Andreas Seppi caused the biggest upset of the 2015 Australian Open on Friday.

In a stunning performance, World No. 46 Seppi recorded one of his greatest victories to knock out second seed and four-time former champion Roger Federer 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(5) for a place in the fourth round.

“To beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five, is a special moment for me,” said Seppi. “Of course, at the beginning, I just went on the court to enjoy the match and to play my best tennis… I was pretty calm. I have to say, from the beginning and also in the important moments.”

It ended a 10-match losing streak against Federer, who saw his run of 11 straight semi-final appearances at Melbourne Park come to an end. Federer last lost in the Australian Open third round in 2001 (l. to Clement).

“It was just a bad day,” admitted Federer. “I wish I could have played better, but clearly it was tough losing the first two. I had chances to get back into it. I let it slip, I mean, both times in some ways. I guess I won the wrong points out there today. I knew how important that second set tie-break was, so clearly that hurt, losing that one. The end wasn't pretty. It wasn't easy to play with the shadow. But it was the same for both of us. It was just a disappointing loss.”

Seppi struck 50 winners - seven fewer than Federer - and saved seven of 10 break point opportunities for victory in just under three hours. It broke a 23-match losing streak against players in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings and his first win over a World No. 2 since he beat Rafael Nadal at the 2008 ABM AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

The Italian now plays Nick Kyrgios, who booked his place in the fourth round for the first time when he defeated Malek Jaziri 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-1.

Seppi broke Federer to love to go up 5-4 and coolly saving three break points in the ensuing game. Unlike Wednesday's script against Simone Bolelli, when he came back to win in four sets, Federer was unable to stop the Italian from establishing a two-sets lead. After trading breaks early in the second, Seppi once again broke for a 5-4 lead. With a little help from the net cord, Federer got back on serve, but his opponent still went on to claim the tie-break.

Said Seppi, “After the first set, I felt, ‘I am there, I am hitting the ball very well.’ I started to believe that I can do more. I think the second set tie-break was very important. It worked out pretty well.”

Looking to rally from two sets down for a 10th time in his career, Federer launched his comeback with a break early in the third. But Federer struggled to make inroads in Seppi’s game in the fourth set, which ended with two stunning forehand winners. Seppi struck an inside-out forehand winner to set up match point at 6/5 in the tie-break and then hit a forehand slice off-balance down the line to complete a famous victory.

Federer came into the Grand Slam championship having won his 83rd tour-level title at the Brisbane International, which marked his 1,000 career match win. Only Jimmy Connors (1,253) and Ivan Lendl (1,071) have more match wins in the Open Era (since 1968).

Date: 23rd January 2015, Source: ATP


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