Andreas Seppi handed Roger Federer his earliest defeat at the Australian Open since 2001, and snapped the Swiss maestro’s streak of 11 consecutive years of making the semifinals or better. The 33-year-old Swiss never really got his game going. “Just a bad day,” Federer said frankly. “It had things to do with Andreas’ game and with my game as well. You put those things together, all of a sudden you’re playing a match you don’t want to play.”
At 4-all in the first set, Seppi broke Federer at love, thereafter taking the lead, but it was the Swiss who was ahead 4-1 in the second set tiebreaker, only to falter and let it slip to the Italian. Previously, Seppi had never beaten Federer in ten meetings, only taking one set, in Doha three years ago. While he took a brief lead in the third set with an early break, Seppi stayed course, and the pressure was mounting. Late into the fourth set, Federer was forced to serve to stay in the match at 4-5 and 5-6, forcing another tiebreaker.
In the end, it was “a bad day,” with Seppi pulling off a sensational forehand pass down the line with little room for margin. Gracious and smiling, Federer congratulated the Italian on the other side of the net and provided an honest assessment of the match afterward in his press conference. Despite hitting fifteen aces, the Swiss struggled and was error prone throughout. He hit nine double faults, serving at just 59% on his first serve, and had 55 unforced errors for the match. The bizarre statistic which means little in tennis: Federer won 145 points overall to Seppi, who won 144. From here, the Swiss cited his immediate plans, calling for rest, practice, and his February schedule will include the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The remainder of his 2015 schedule is yet to be finalized, but he is scheduled to play an exhibition match in March with Grigor Dimitrov in New York, the BNP Paribas Showdown.