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.”

ATP

Next Gen Star Alexei Popyrin Fears He May Be Forced To Play US Open Despite Health Concerns

Like many other lower ranked players on the Tour, the 20-year-old finds himself in a tough situation.

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One of Australia’s rising stars has said he is worried that he may have to play at the US Open against his will or risk losing a chunk of ranking points.

 

Alexei Popryin has raised his concerns about travelling to the New York major in August amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in some areas of the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there were 52,228 New Cases of the virus on July 5th compared to 24 hours before. Furthermore, the governor of New York recently announced that people travelling from 16 different states in America are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they visit the city. According to USA Today this ruling applies to roughly 48% of the entire American population.

Despite the concerns, the organisers of the US Open have insisted they will be able to hold the tournament in a safe manner and will be implementing various restrictions. Including holding the event without fans for the first time and conducting frequent testing of players. However world No.103 Popryin admits that he still has his concerns about attending.

“There are talks regarding the US Open but I really don’t want to go with the situation in America right now,” Popyrin said at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown over the weekend.
“But we have to see if we would be forced to go because of ranking points.
“If the ranking points won’t be frozen, then most of us would be forced to go play cause our ranking will drop and we wouldn’t have any say in it.
“But if the rankings are frozen, then I am staying here.
“I will stay in Europe where it’s safe with my family.”

Popryin has a considerable amount of points to defend in New York after reaching the third round there last year. Therefore, if he skips the event he faces dropping further down the rankings. Something which will then impact on his chances of entering the bigger tournaments later in the year. Usually the cut off for Grand Slam tournaments is around 105.

It is still to be announced as to what will happen with the ranking points system at the US Open and if there will be any adjustments made due to the pandemic. Although organisers will likely be against any idea to remove them from the event as it is a key factor to attract players to take part.

Another player to voice their concerns about the US Open is France’s Benoit Paire, who has said he would not attend the event if it was taking place today. Speaking to RMC Sport the world No.22 said he would rather not go to the event if he meant that he would be ‘taking a risk’ with his health.

“Going to the United States would be at risk of catching it. I am a great professional and I am one of those who would always like to play tennis, but your health is the most important thing,” he said.
“If going there is taking the risk of catching the disease and staying quarantined when I return, I prefer not to go, really.’
“It looks like if we play the US Open, we will have to sacrifice not to play the Mutua Madrid Open or the Masters 1000 in Rome.”

Meanwhile, world No.3 Dominic Thiem recently told Austrian media that he believes a final decision regarding the Grand Slam will be made within a week. Something that is yet to be confirmed by officials.

Should it go ahead, the US Open will start on August 31st.

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REPORT: Former Spanish Tennis Star In Talks To Coach Alexander Zverev

A former world No.3 could be returning to the Tour later this year in a new position.

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Tennis sensation Alexander Zverev could soon be mentored by somebody whose career he ended last year at the Madrid Open.

 

Spanish newspaper Marca have reported that the world No.7 is set to enter in a 15-day trial with former French Open finalist David Ferrer where the two will get to know each other better. Ferrer has reportedly travelled to Monte Carlo to start working alongside Germany’s top player. Should everything go well, the two could start a formal partnership in September ahead of the European clay-court swing of the Tour, which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both men are already fairly familiar with each other after facing off nine times on the ATP Tour, including three times last year. Zverev was the last player Ferrer played against at the Madrid Open before officially retiring from the sport at the age of 37.

“He’s the most respectful guy for me on Tour, and one of the most loved people on the Tour as well,” Zverev told reporters in the Spanish capital following their match.

Whilst never winning a Grand Slam, Ferrer achieved numerous accolades throughout his career. Including spending 4914 consecutive days in the world’s top 50, winning 27 ATP titles and achieving a ranking high of No.3 back in 2013. Overall, he has played 1011 matches on the ATP Tour (including Grand Slams) which is more than John McEnroe.

Should Ferrer receive the green light, Zverev will be the first high-profile player he will be responsible for. The Spaniard had previously hinted at his desire to enter coaching with his long time objective being to captain the Spanish Davis Cup team. He is also currently serving as the tournament director of the Barcelona Open.

“I would be very proud to be able to be (Davis Cup captain),” Ferrer told Marca in April 2019. “I also understand that this is very far away and there are players who are ahead. First, I have to train as a professional in teaching (coaching).”

Neither Ferrer or Zverev has publicly commented on the report. At present Zverev is coached on the Tour by his father who guided him to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

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Father Of Dominic Thiem Condemns Criticism Of Novak Djokovic’s Role In Adria Tour Fiasco

Wolfgang Thiem has come to the defence of the world No.1 before suggesting that COVID-19 cases among players at charity events are worth it.

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The father of world No.3 Dominic Thiem has said it is ‘too cheap’ to blame Novak Djokovic over the outbreak of COVID-19 at the controversial Adria Tour.

 

Wolfgang Thiem lent his support behind the 17-time Grand Slam champion during an interview with Austrian newspaper Die Presses on Friday. The Adria Tour, which was founded by Djokovic, was cancelled following an outbreak of the virus during the Zadar leg of the event in Croatia with Grigor Dimitrov being the first player to confirm a positive test. Shortly after, Djokovic and Borna Coric also tested positive as well as some coaching staff. Viktor Troicki also contracted COVID-19, but only played the first leg of the Tour in Belgrade.

Throughout the Belgrade and Zadar events organisers were criticised for a lack of social distancing being applied. Players were seen playing basketball matches, attending nightclubs and interacting with the public. Although all of those actions were in line with local government rules.

“I do not approve of what happened on the Adria Tour, but condemning Djokovic and saying he screwed it up is too cheap for me,” Wolfgang commented.
“Of course the dance at the disco was not optimal, but Djokovic basically did nothing wrong. They just got a little sloppy, they were euphoric,” he continued.

Djokovic, who has been at the centre of the criticism, is yet to publicly speak about the incident. On Friday it was confirmed that both him and his wife Jelena have now tested negative for the virus. 10 days after they were first diagnosed.

As for Thiem, his father said the Austrian tennis star will be donating his money from the event to charity. Although he did not say how much that would be or which cause it would go towards. It comes just days after Djokovic donated 40,000 euros to the Serbian town of Novi Pazar, who has been hit hard by the pandemic.

Speaking about the outbreak of COVID-19 among players, Wolfgang has suggested that it is worth it if it meant raising money for charity.

“I prefer that there be a few more cases of coronavirus and be able to raise a few thousand euros for a childhood cancer clinic,” he explained.

Since the Adria Tour, Thiem has played at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) in France. He has undergone five COVID-19 tests in recent days with all of them testing negative for the virus. The 26-year-old withdrew from the UTS on Wednesday to focus on the upcoming Thiem 7 event in Kitzbuhel which will start on July 7th.

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