Friday, 23 January 2015

Seppi Stars as Federer Falls

Roger Federer must have secretly been relieved to see Jeremy Chardy depart the Aus Open at the hands of Andreas Seppi.  Roger had played Chardy three times in 2014 and lost once, admittedly on clay, but had been taken the distance the other times.  He had not yet been beaten by the Seppi.

Today would see plenty of aggressive rallies but more than the average number of net approaches which makes for more variety and at times a more entertaining brand of tennis.

Federer began in the best way with an ace and a love game forcing Seppi into error and making a firm statement.  Seppi, was forced to deuce in winning his serve but after 1-1 there came a shift, with Federer committing more unforced errors than acceptable by any standard let alone his.  The path to service hold accordingly grew slightly tougher.

However through seven games serves were held, the seventh one of Rogers best highlighted by two aces and two forehand gems.  He led 4-3 at this stage and Seppi was sticking with him.

Andreas provided two service winners on route to a fourth game and then Federer did a 180 degree turn from his previous service game, losing this one to love - three forehand unforced errors and a double fault.  5-4 to Seppi who quickly checked the date to see whether in fact today was his birthday.

A double fault when serving for the set took Seppi to 15-40; those break back points were saved, the second with a fine forehand winner, but Roger set up another break opportunity with a forehand beauty from his collection.  Again it was saved, and Seppi boldly went where few have been before - taking a set from Roger in the third round of a major.  He did so 6-4.

The packed out crowd at Rod Laver Arena were displeased on the whole with the occasional section of Seppi fans delirious at their boys start.

The second set boasted even better tennis between the pair as evidenced by the opening two games which before settling at 1-1 on service donated no less than 10 clear winners for the good of the game.  Games three and four were both breaks of serve with Seppi's backhand punishing Federer and then Federer returning the favour with his forehand.  2-2 and enthralling action.

Difficult to choose a winner as they battled for the next four games, and then an extended Federer effort on serve saw Seppi finally break the pattern - a backhand winner on his second break point.
With Seppi serving for the set, Roger was not going to let this one happen like the first, and he pulled out all stops to break back.  5-5 which became 6-6 and a thrilling tie break.

Roger always looked in control of the tie break leading 5-3 with a serve to come, but Seppi came with a run knocking off the final four points to win it 7-5 and the set 7-6.
Federer was down two sets to love and needing a famous comeback to make it past the third round.

The third set again featured high quality shot making, only marred from an Italian viewpoint by Seppi dropping serve in the third game, allowing the second seed to "coast" to a 6-4 set win and send plenty of warning signs through the Italian nation.

Set four found more great tennis over which the fans could salivate and neither player was having his service broken here, although Roger travelled close to the edge when trailing 5-6 and serving at deuce a few times.

The tiebreak would settle the set and Roger had the advantage early, retaining the lead which eventually became 5-4 with two serves to come.  Sadly for Federer he blundered on the first and Seppi played a great point on the second to have match point on his serve.

In reply to what appeared to be an unplayable Federer shot, Andreas Seppi hit an incredible forehand that never looked like landing in court, yet did and won him his most famous victory 6-4 7-6 (5) 4-6 7-6 (5)

This breaks a run of 11 straight years where Roger Federer has made at least the semi finals of the Australian Open.  The last time he failed to reach the fourth round was 2001.

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