Seppi tears up the script to stun Federer

Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:44am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Second seed Roger Federer was expected to saunter into the Australian Open fourth round on Friday when he faced Italian Andreas Seppi, a man he had beaten in each of their previous 10 encounters.

Expectations were the 17-times grand slam champion had the better serve, backhand, forehand, movement and court craft to sweep away the world number 46.

He had also not lost this early in the season-opening grand slam since his second trip to Melbourne Park in 2001, when he was eliminated in the third round.

Seppi, however, had other ideas... Big ideas.

The Italian never allowed the world number two to settle into a rhythm. He attacked his backhand. He seized three of the five break opportunities he had in the first two sets, while Federer took just two of his seven.

Suddenly the Swiss maestro was two sets to love down.

The crowd at Rod Laver Arena and watching around Melbourne Park are astounded but not overly concerned. Federer has won nine times throughout his storied career from such a deficit.

The fightback began in the third game of the third set when Federer broke. A bellowed "come on" got the crowd more involved.   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland gestures to Andreas Seppi of Italy after hitting the net-cord during their men's singles third round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato