Friday, 22 January 2016

Seppi tests Djokovic

Andreas Seppi knocked out Roger Federer in the third round last year so could he do the same to Novak Djokovic this year ? The 28th seed would find Djokovic in his form a far greater challenge than Federer and no one would expect anything more than Seppi's best efforts.

After Djokovic held the opening serve of the match it was Seppi's turn.  15-40 following a Novak special down the line backhand and the break was complete with another backhand winner just as good. 2-0 to the champ.

Novak actually missed a volley and then a forehand for a 30-30 scoreline, but no harm as the serve was strong, and invited returns into instead of over the net.  3-0

Seppi attacked the net twice and won a couple of points.  For the rest it was business as usual and a second break of the Italian serve. 4-0   This was turned into 5-0 smartly before the best game of the match so far.  Seppi served well to reach 40-15 but Djokovic brought it back to deuce.  Competitive tennis from both players ended with Seppi winning the day and finally he was on the board 1-5

Djokovic breezed through his service game to love and won the first set 6-1.  

Scary is one of the more utilised words when discussing men's tennis these days.  Just how great can Novak become when he already has created such a gulf between him and the rest ?   

Set two began with a different flavour and although Djokovic had two break points on the Seppi serve, his tennis appeared to have dropped a level.  He missed two returns and Seppi managed to wriggle out of the break scenario, including an ace.  1-0 to the Italian.

Djokovic was lobbed on the first point but won the remainder, winning the game with a down the line forehand 1-1.  Seppi was much more competitive now and his backhand and serve were prominent in holding serve and leading 2-1.

Djokovic was taken to deuce in the fourth game and clearly had lost the impetus gained with his first set dominance.  He held serve eventually to level at 2-2, and moments later was required to serve again such was Seppi's efficiency in achieving 3-2.

A break point faced Novak in the sixth game, and only some wide Seppi forehands provided an escape route to safety and 3-3.  Seppi took it to 4-3 including a service winner and a serve volley success.
Djokovic errors had him in limbo at 30-30 but he found his way out of potential trouble to tie it at 4-4.

At 5-5 it seemed that the world number one clicked into another gear, one that wanted to break serve and avoid a tie break.  From the opening point where Seppi found the net, Novak had a focus not apparent earlier in the set.  He lost the second point but helped create a break point opportunity.  Under pressure, Andreas couldn't clear the net and the break was made, Djokovic leading 6-5 and serving for a two set lead.

At 30-30 Djokovic served an ace to bring up set point, but then double faulted.  Straight away another ace, and this time Seppi obliged by dropping a backhand into the net.

Djokovic led 6-1 7-5

Games on serve throughout the third set and the only break points occurred in the fourth game on Djokovic's serve. Both were saved of course.  The standard of tennis was particularly high thanks to Seppi throwing his best at Djokovic and requiring the number one to lift his level accordingly.  The tie break would be critical.

A backhand unforced error from Seppi gave Djokovic the first edge and at 4-2 it seemed he had the match almost in hand.  Credit to Seppi who won the next four points to give him two set points. Djokovic saved one but Seppi had the next on his own serve.  Two backhand unforced errors threw the advantage back to Djokovic 7-6 and he served it out, winning the tie break, the set and the match 6-1 7-5 7-6

A real test in the second and third sets for the top seed but he won the critical points as is usually the case for the best in the world.  Seppi lost but did as well as anyone has in recent times against Novak.

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