Tennis fans were left stunned after World No. 46 Andreas Seppi sent Roger Federer packing out of the Australian Open on Day 5 of the year’s first Grand Slam. Seppi’s incredible win meant that for the first time in 14 years, the Australian Open will not have a certain Roger Federer in the fourth round!
It was not a day to remember for the Indian tennis stars as well. It was the end of the road for the Men’s doubles campaigns of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopannna. Sania Mirza, meanwhile, had mixed fortunes as she won her mixed doubles opener but lost in the Women’s doubles second round.
Andreas Seppi plays the match of his life
The World No. 2 Roger Federer had been in imperious form in the run up to the Australian Open. He recently won his 83rd career title at Brisbane and was one of the favourites. Besides Roger Federer had last lost in the third round of the Australian Open way back in 2001. But Italian Seppi had other ideas. He had lost 10 consecutive matches to the Swiss maestro but was not prepared to give in the 11th straight time!
And he made his intentions clear from the outset. Seppi played some brilliant tennis to take the first set 6-4. But along with his superb display it was amazing to see the challenger remain calm at the crucial moments. It was this composure that helped eke out the second set in a tie-break.
Despite Roger Federer fighting back to take the third set 6-4, Andreas Seppi never looked intimidated and closed out the biggest win of his career 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(5).
Leander, Rohan exit men’s doubles, Sania wins in mixed doubles
It was a sad day for Indian tennis lovers as both Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna lost their respective men’s doubles matches. Sania Mirza too lost her women’s doubles second round match but kept herself in contention in the Mixed Doubles.
The tenth seeds Paes and Klaasen, fresh off their win in Auckland, looked set to win the match as they went one set up. However, the unseeded Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini stormed back to take the next two sets. Fognini/Bolelli defeated Paes/Klaasen 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Sydney titlists Rohan Bopanna and Daniel Nestor too could not bring any cheer to the Indian camp as they too went down 5-7, 3-6 to Feliciano Lopez and Max Mirnyi.
For Sania Mirza who recently reached World No. 5 ranking in women’s doubles, it was a disappointing outing in the women’s doubles event. Mirza who is partnering Su-Wei Hsieh from this season, lost to the unseeded Canadian-Polish pairing of Gabriela Dabrowski and Alicja Rosolska 6(5)-7, 4-6.
Sania however did succeed in ending the day with a win as she won her mixed doubles opening match with Bruno Soares. The reigning US Open mixed doubles winners won 6-1, 4-6, [10-3] over Timea Babos and Eric Butorac.
Routine wins for other top stars
Rafael Nadal – The World No. 3 had a much easier outing after a very tough second round match. The 2009 champion beat Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-0, 7-5 for a place in the fourth round.
Andy Murray – The British No. 1 was equally impressive as he rolled into the fourth round. Andy Murray was a 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 winner over Joao Sousa.
Grigor Dimitrov – The rising Bulgarian scraped past former runner-up Marcos Baghdatis to enter the fourth round in a five setter, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Dimitrov will next face Murray in a blockbuster fourth round encounter.
Maria Sharapova – Sharapova came back from the brink in her last match at the Australian Open. On Friday, she ensured she didn’t have to work that hard. Maria Sharapova was a quick 6-1, 6-1 winner over Zarina Diyas.
Other top stars who made an entry into the fourth round included Simona Halep, Eugenie Bouchard and Tomas Berdych.
On Saturday, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka will seek a place in the Australian Open fourth round. Amongst Indian stars, Mahesh Bhupathi will kick off his mixed doubles campaign. In juniors, Pranjala Yadlapalli, Ojasvinee Singh and Sumit Nagal will be in action.
Previous match reports
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