For the first time in 12 years, Roger Federer won’t be featuring in the Australian Open semi-finals after suffering a shock 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (7-5) third-round exit to Italy’s Andreas Seppi.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion had never lost to Seppi in 10 previous meetings, but made some uncharacteristic errors on Friday, with nine double-faults including one to surrender a mini break in the fourth-set tiebreaker.
Seppi, a 30-year-old Italian who had only advanced beyond the second round once at his nine previous trips to Melbourne Park, held his nerve despite some withering winners from Federer, who registered his 1,000th career match victory when he collected the Brisbane International title earlier this month to open the season.
Federer has won the Australian title four times, and had reached the semi-finals or better at Melbourne Park every year since winning the championship for the first time in 2004. He also had come back from losing the first two sets on nine previous occasions.
“I had to believe that I could win,” said Seppi, who said he stuck out his racket and hoped for the best on match point a forehand that sailed past Federer and landed in the corner. “I was just trying to stay relaxed and just focusing on every shot and to breathe calm and don’t get nervous.
“I think I did pretty well. Very well. I’m very happy I could manage the emotions.”
Did you know… it was only the second time in his last 43 Grand Slam tournaments that the Swiss star failed to at least reach the fourth round.