AO2015: Andreas Seppi stuns Roger Federer in the third round - UBITENNIS
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AO2015: Andreas Seppi stuns Roger Federer in the third round

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TENNIS – World Number 46 player Andreas Seppi from Italy upset four-time Australian Open Roger Federer in four sets with 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (7-5). The Sud-Tyrol player broke a 10-match losing streak against Federer, whose dream to reach his 11th consecutive semifinal at the Australian Open came to an end. The last time Federer lost in the third round in Melbourne dates back to 2001 when he lost against Arnaud Clement. Diego Sampaolo

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Seppi recorded his first win against a World Number 2 since he defeated Rafael Nadal in Rotterdam in 2008 and put an end to his 23-match losing streak against a top-10 player. It was the first time that Seppi beat Federer after losing in the previous 10 head-to-head matches.

Seppi, who reached the fourth round in Melbourne two in 2013 when he lost against Jeremy Chardy, played one of the greatest match of his career. He saved seven of Federer’s ten break point chances and hit 50 winners. He converted on three of his five break point chances to go up 2-0 on sets, while Federer had problems with his serve early in the match.

In the first eight games of the match Seppi did not face any break point chances The Italian player broke Federer to love to take a 5-4 lead before fending off three break point chances in the following game to clinch the first set with 6-4.

Both Federer and Seppi traded breaks at the start of a roller-coaster second set. Seppi got the break in the third game but Federer broke straight back in the next game. The Italian got the break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Federer broke back to draw level to 5-5. Both players held serve and the set came down to the inevitable tie-break where Seppi prevailed with 7-5 to go up 2-0. Federer got a mini-break earl in the breaker to pull away to a 4-1 lead but Seppi broke back. Seppi drew level to 5-5 with a forehand volley before taking the 6-5 lead. Seppi, who had one just a set against Federer in the previous 10 head-to-head matches, sealed the second set to go up 2-0

Seppi saved a break point in the opening game of the third set before Federer broke serve in the third game in the attempt to claw his way back from a 0-2 deficit for the 10th time in his career. He won the third set 6-4 to force the match to the fourth set.

Seppi saved a delicate break point in the opening game of the fourth set. From then on the set went on serve. Neither Seppi nor Federer managed to earn a single break point. In the 11th game Seppi lost a very long rally of 24 shots at 5-5 but he managed to force a tie-break in the fourth set with two aces. The breaker started with a trade of mini-breaks Federer committed a double fault at 3-3. Federer had two chances to earn a set point but he lost two points on his serve to go down 5-6. Seppi hit an inside-out forehand winner to earn a match point at 6-5 in the tie-break of the fourth set. He struck a forehand slice down the line to wrap up the match. He celebrated the greatest win for an Italian player in a Grand Slam and the finest win in his career. Seppi is the fourth Italian player to beat the Swiss Maestro. The last Italian to beat the Basel legend was Filippo Volandri in Rome in 2007. The other three players who beat Roger were Gianluca Pozzi in the 1999 Davis Cup, Davide Sanguinetti in Milan in 2002 and Andrea Gaudenzi in Rome in 2002.

Federer made 55 unforced errors, including 17 in the first set.

Seppi scored his second win against a Swiss star after taking a famous victory over Stan Wawrinka in Rome in 2011. Before today Seppi had reached the fourth round in his 39th appearances in a Grand Slam Tournament. Seppi dropped to outside the top-40 last year but he started the 2015 season on a high note reaching the semifinals at the Qatar Open in Doha earlier this month. In the first two rounds at the Australian Open Seppi beat once again Denis Istomin in five sets in the first round and Jeremy Chardy in the second round.

Seppi set up an intriguing fourth round match against Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios who beat Tunisian sensation Malek Jaziri (the first player from this country to reach the third round in a Grand Slam tournament) in straight sets with 6-3 7-6 6-1. Kyrgios won the previous match against Seppi in the second round at last year’s US Open in straight sets.

Kyrgios, who famously beat Rafa Nadal in the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, won the first two matches at this year’s Australian Open against Federico Delbonis in a five-set thrilling first round match and Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic in the second round.

To beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best of five, is a special moment for me. At the beginning I just went on the court to enjoy the match and to play my best tennis and I did because I was playing Roger. You never feel comfortable playing against Roger but I was focusing on my service game. I didn’t have many chances on his serve. Especially after the first set I was hitting the ball very well.I start to believe that I can do more. I think it was very important to win the second set tie-break. It worked out pretty well. I went in the court to enjoy the moment. You don’t play every day on Centre Court in a full stadium in a Grand Slam against Roger. I was pretty calm from the beginning. It was the match where I felt more comfortable in my life with my emotions.I think that helped me for sure in the end of the match a lot. I can’t remember well what Roger told me. I think he said: Unbelievable last point. Congratulations, something like that”, said Seppi.

Seppi reached the fourth round in a Grand Slam in the 2012 Roland Garros when he went up 2-0 on sets against Novak Djokovic at the 2012 Roland Garros before the Serb fought back to win in the fifth set.

I wasn’t thinking about anything. I was very calm. I really enjoyed the atmosphere out there. I was not thinking I was leading two sets to love or tow sets to one. It was going to the end, so just if I could do that any time, it would be great. This win means a lot for my career. It’s the first time I beat him, I beat once Nadal in Rotterdam when he was Number 2 in the world. It was also a big win. I never went close against Roger. I never had the chance. To have this win in my career is for sure something big. It’s tough to say that I believed before the match that I could beat Roger. When the match went on, especially in the middle of the first set or after the first set, I started thinking I could win. When the match was getting close I started to believe that I could win, otherwise I didn’t win this win. Now I Know that I can handle some very difficult moments or some big pressure. Maybe I am a little bit more mature on court. I know I know myself a little bit better. It’s for sure a big confidence for the upcoming matches.

Seppi was asked if he had the chance to speak to Simone Bolelli who was beaten by Federer in four sets in the previous match.

I didn’t ask any advice or anything. I didn’t talk to Bolelli really. It’s tough to ask some advice because you know how Roger plays. You know him well. I just watched the first set yesterday. Bolelli played a great set but I didn’t watch the rest of the match. ”, said Seppi

I think Roger is still playing because he believes he can win another Grand Slam. He is a great player. I think that not many people thought that last year he could almost go again Number 1 in the world. I think he has good chances to win another one”

Federer did not look comfortable in the first two sets but admitted in the post-match interview that it was just a bad day at work

It was just a bad day. I wish I could have played better, but clearly it was tough losing the first two. I had chances to get back into it but I let it slip. 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.We had some good matches in the past. He hits a good ball, forehand and backhand, so that I knew that on a quicker court where he gets more help on the serve it was potentially going to be more tricky. I felt for some reason yesterday and this morning that it was not going to be very simple today. Even in practice I still felt the same way. I was just hoping it was one of those feelings you sometimes have and it’s totally not true and you just come out and play a routine match. It was a mistake. I know the strength of Seppi, especially after he beat Chardy, who I know can play very well. I was aware of the test and was well prepared. I couldn’t play my best tennis today. It was definitely partially because Andreas played very well. I felt that maybe rhythm was missing. I feel like very often and then. I come out and play a good match. Sometimes you feel too good and then you play a horrible match. The practice to me doesn’t mean a thing anyway. I was aware that this could be a tough match, so I wasn’t mistaken this time around. It was just an overall feeling I had today out on the court that I couldn’t really get the whole game flowing. Was it backhand ? Was it forehand ? Was it serve ? it was a bit of everything. At the same time I got broken in the last couple of sets. The second set I only got broken once. I was hanging in there. It’s just when it counted the most somehow it just ended up going his way. I think that was because overall I wasn’t feeling it quite as well. I had to play it a little bit passively at times when normally I would play aggressive. It was just a tough match for me”, said Federer.

Asked if the defeat was due to the grueling end of the 2014 season where Federer clinched his first Davis Cup and if the Australian Open came in a bit of a rush, the Swiss star said. “I was actually very happy that it was the way it went because it allowed me to stay within the rhythm and take the break after the Australian Open. I was playing very well in practice. I was playing very well in Brisbane. I was playing great in the practice leading into the tournament. I don’t want to say that I peaked too early, but I was definitely hitting the ball very well. I will have a look at it but I don’t think I did anything wrong honestly. I wanted to go to India. I wanted to go back to Switzerland for Christmas. I practiced as hard as I possibly could. I can’t do more than that. The year ended late, but one week later than normal. At the end of the day, honestly, I am confident that what I did was the right thing.

I was able to iron out things a bit and I was able to play much more solid at the back end of the match. It just broke me to lose that second set and actually the fourth. I should win it too. Just a brutal couple of sets to lose there.”

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Daniil Medvedev Targets French Open Breakthrough After Rome Disappointment

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Daniil Medvedev believes there will be more title contenders at the French Open than previous editions with the Russian hoping to be one of them. 

The world No.4 heads into the Grand Slam after what has been a mixed clay swing. Medvedev suffered a third round defeat in Monte Carlo before bouncing back in Madrid where he reached the quarter-finals before retiring from his match with a minor injury. Meanwhile, at this week’s Italian Open, his title defence came to an end in the fourth round on Tuesday when he fell 6-1, 6-4, to Tommy Paul. 

“Mentally I had to be much better,” Medvedev said of his latest performance.
“I started to calm myself down and focus on the match only at the end of the match, and it was too late. I had to do better. I was expecting myself to play better.’
“It’s disappointing, but that’s how sport is. You lose and you go for the next tournament, which is a pretty important one.” He added. 

28-year-old Medvedev recently stated that he is seeing improvements in his game when it comes to playing on the clay. A surface which he has struggled on during stages of his career. Out of the 38 ATP Finals he has contested, only two of those were on the clay. Barcelona in 2019 when he finished runner-up and Rome last year which he won. 

As for the French Open, he has lost in the first round on five out of seven appearances. But did reach the quarter-finals in 2021 and the last 16 the following year. So could 2024 be his year?

“Now it’s maybe a little bit more open than it was ever before,” he said of this year’s event. 
“Good for me, too, because usually in Roland Garros I don’t play that well. The more open it is, the better it is for me.”

All of the top three players on the men’s tour are currently experiencing problems. Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open and recently underwent a medical assessment after getting hit in the head by a bottle in a freak accident. Jannik Sinner is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the French Open due to a hip issue and Carlos Alcaraz has been hindered by a forearm injury in recent weeks. 

“I’m feeling much better on clay,” Medvedev commented. “What is tough for me on clay sometimes is getting used to conditions. Every court – in every tournament in the world – is a bit different.
“On hard courts it’s the same: every court is different. On hard courts I have this ability to kind of quite fast get used to it. On clay, I need more time.”

Medvedev aims to become only the second Russian man in history to win the French Open after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996. The tournament will begin a week on Sunday. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Says Expanded Masters Events ‘Playing A Massive Role’ In Player Injuries

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas has slammed the decision to extend the length of Masters 1000 tournaments to two weeks by warning that more injuries could occur in the future as a result. 

This week’s Rome Masters is taking place without two out of the world’s top three players. Jannik Sinner pulled out of his home event due to a hip injury and Carlos Alcaraz has been troubled by a forearm issue in recent weeks. Other players missing from the draw include Tomas Machac (Illness), Ugo Humbert (Left Knee) and Stan Wawrinka (Right Wrist). 

The tournament is taking place immediately after the Madrid Open which is also a Masters event that has been expanded to a two-week format in recent years. Supporters of the move argue that a bigger draw provides lower-ranked players with more opportunities to play in these events whilst others will have a day off between matches. 

However, world No.8 Tsitsipas isn’t completely happy with the schedule which he openly criticised on Monday following his 6-2, 7-6(1), win over Cameron Norrie. The Greek has won 12 out of 14 matches played on clay so far this season. 

“It’s a type of thing that hurt the sport a little bit, to have these types of things happen to the highest of the players,” Tsitsipas commented on his rival’s injuries.
“Without them, the show is not kind of the same. You have obviously the guys behind them (in the rankings). These kinds of tournaments deserve names like this to be playing and have the opportunity to play in front of these big stadiums and crowds.
“I’ve spoken about the fact that the schedule has a big toll on our bodies. It starts from the mental side, and it follows to the physical side. The extension of the days in the Masters 1000s I think plays a massive role and contributes a lot to the fact that these players are getting injured.”

The ATP’s extended format is set to be applied to seven out of the nine Masters 1000 tournaments from 2025. The only two yet to make or plan for such changes are Monte Carlo and Paris. However, Tsitsipas has called for changes to be made to the schedule.

“It was perhaps already a lot the way it was before with the seven-day events. Adding more days to that, well, you got to be some type of superhero to be consistent back-to-back 10 days in each event getting to the very end of it.” He commented.
“It’s not a very easy thing to do. Some people need to try it first to get an understanding and how it is to pull that off. Then they should make decisions based on that.
“I think this is not going to be the first time we see these types of things (player injuries). If these types of things continue with the same schedule not being adjusted or customized to the needs of the players, we might see more of these things occur in the future.”

It is not the first time a player has raised concerns about the extended format. Alexander Zverev previously said that the schedule is a disadvantage for the top players. Meanwhile, on the women’s Tour Caroline Garcia has criticised the move to expand WTA 1000 tournaments whilst Maria Sakkari said achieving the Madrid-Rome double has become harder to do

On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev has spoken in favour of the new format and describes injuries on the Tour as ‘part of the sport.’ The former US Open believes the issue is related to the quick surface changes players face and not the duration of tournaments. 

Tsitsipas will play Alex de Minaur in the fourth round of the Italian Open on Tuesday. 

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Novak Djokovic To Undergo Medical Check After Rome Thrashing, Bottle Incident

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Novak Djokovic – ATP Roma 2024 (foto: Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis)

Novak Djokovic has indicated that he will speak to doctors following his lacklustre performance at the Italian Open where he crashed out in straight sets. 

The five-time champion was far from his best against Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo as he struggled to generate any rhythm in his tennis or a single break point opportunity. Djokovic’s below-par performance caught many off guard, including the tennis player himself who admitted afterwards that he was ‘completely off’ his game. 

Trying to find the reason behind his latest performance, the world No.1 isn’t ruling out the possibility that it might be linked to an incident that took place at the tournament two days ago. Following his win over France’s Corentin Moutet, Djokovic suffered a blow to his head after a fan accidentally dropped a metal bottle from the stands. Immediately afterwards, he experienced nausea, dizziness and bleeding for up to an hour but was checked by medical officials.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I have to check that.” Djokovic replied when asked if the incident affected his form on Sunday.
“Training was different. I was going for kind of easy training yesterday. I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.
“Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance. Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago.
“It could be. I don’t know. I have to do medical checkups and see what’s going on. “

The tennis star said he managed to sleep fine after his head blow but did experience headaches. He looked to be in good spirits the day after it happened and even turned up to practice in Rome wearing a safety helmet.

Djokovic’s concerns come two weeks before the start of the French Open where he is seeking a record 25th Major title. He will undoubtedly be one of the contenders for glory but admits there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the coming days. 

“Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it,” he said.
“The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, and no balance whatsoever on any shot.
“It’s a bit concerning.”

The French Open will begin on Sunday 26th May. 

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