Roger Federer saw early exit coming

"I felt for some reason it was not going to be very simple (against Andreas Seppi). Even in practice, I felt the same way," said four-time champion Federer after third-round ouster

Melbourne: Four-time champion Roger Federer revealed he was probably the only man in Melbourne who felt his shock defeat to Italy’s Andreas Seppi was on the cards.

Roger Federer. Inset: Andreas Seppi.
Roger Federer reacts ahead of a tie-break in Set 4 of his Australian Open third round singles match against Italy's Andreas Seppi in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP. Inset: World No 46 Andreas Seppi.

Federer had won all 10 of his previous matches against the World No 46 for the loss of a single set, but crashed out of the Australian Open in the third round yesterday.

Great consistency
The 17-time Grand Slam winner had reached at least the semi-final stage of the championship every year from 2004 to 2014, but was well below his best as Seppi pulled off a memorable 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5) victory over the second seed.

Federer, who had been bidding to reach the last 16 for the 14th year in a row, said yesterday: “I felt for some reason yesterday and this morning 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 you play a routine match. I feel like that very often and then, you know, I come out and play a good match.

“Sometimes you feel too good and then you play a horrible match. I know the strength of Seppi, especially after he beat (Jeremy) Chardy. I was aware of the test and was well-prepared. Just somehow couldn’t play my best tennis today.”

Seppi equalled his best Grand Slam performance by reaching the last 16, where he will face Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, the World No 53. “To beat Roger for the first time, especially in a Grand Slam is a special moment for me,” he said.

That special feeling
“At the beginning I just went on the court to enjoy the match and to play my best tennis, it’s not often you get to play on Centre Court (Rod Laver Arena) against Roger.

“But especially after the first set I felt I am there, I am hitting the ball very well. I start to believe that I can do more. I was pretty calm, I have to say, from the beginning. Also in the important moments. “Maybe it was the match where I felt most comfortable in my life also with my emotions. I think that help me for sure in the end of the match a lot.”

Both players felt the second-set tie-break was crucial after a heavy net cord had allowed Federer to break back when Seppi served for the set at 5-4.

Crucial tie-break
“I knew how important that second set tiebreaker was, so clearly that hurt, losing that one,” Federer added. “I had chances to get back into it. I let it slip both times in some ways.”

Seppi led World No 1 Novak Djokovic by two sets to love in the fourth round of the French Open in 2012 before going on to lose, and a similar result looked possible when Federer won the third set and a sumptuous backhand winner in the fourth-set tie-break gave the Swiss star a 5-4 lead with two serves to follow. However, an error from Federer and a forehand winner from Seppi gave him a match point he took with a running forehand winner, which Federer could have volleyed but chose to leave.

-- PA Sport

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