Four time Australian Open Champion Roger Federer has failed to reach the fourth round for the first time since 2001 after being stunned by Italian Andreas Seppi 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5).
Seppi, 30, has never beaten the No 2 seed in 10 previous encounters and ends a 23-match losing streak against top 10 opponents. Seppi’s record stood at just 1-25 against the big three, his only win coming against Nadal in 2008.
“I just tried to do my best,” the world No 46 said. “It was one of my best matches for sure, otherwise I couldn’t beat Roger.”
Federer surmised after the match, “It was just a bad day. I wish I could have played better.” Federer's display was riddled with errors and sluggishness, ending a streak of 11 consecutive runs to the semi finals or better.
The world number 2 was up 4-1 in the second set tiebreaker but allowed the Italian to win the next seven points as well as the set to take a two set lead. Federer won the third set to narrow the deficit and looked to force a fifth set, but nerves gripped him.
Originally leading the fourth-set tiebreaker, Federer double faulted and found himself serving to stay in the match at 4-5. With help from the net Federer made it 5-5, but Seppi broke Federer's server to win the match.
Federer struggled for consistency throughout the match going three for 10 on break point opportunities, committing 55 unforced errors and 9 double faults throughout the match. Seppi capitalised on Federer’s lethargic footwork and used his improved service game to produce a consistent match with 40 unforced errors.
Highlight worthy shot
The Italian held his nerve to loft a spectacular final shot bypassing a net bound Roger Federer who could only watch as shot dropped just inside the court.
Tournament Opening up
Federer's loss opens up the tournament somewhat and will be welcome news to Murray who was seeded to meet him in the quarterfinals.
Murray had a less dramatic encounter taking his third round match in three sets against the Portuguese Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-1, 7-5, securing his place in the fourth round. The win sets up a rematch with Grigor Dimitrov who will be depleted after completing five sets against a stubborn Marcos Baghdatis in sweltering heat during the day.