Roger Federer Crashes Out Of Australian Open To Help Clear Path To The Final For Andy Murray
From Neil McLeman in Melbourne
Roger Federer suffered a shock defeat to Italian Andreas Seppi to crash out of the Australian Open – and his defeat opens up Andy Murray”s potential route to the final.
The four-time winner had reached the semi-final here for the last 11 years and had not lost in the third round here since 2001.
And the Swiss superstar had beaten world No 46 Andreas Seppi in their previous 10 meetings while only dropping a single set.
But the Italian played the match of his life on the Rod Laver Arena to win 6-4 7-6 4-6 7-6.
Seppi said: "I just tried to enjoy myself and do my best. It is one of my best matches for sure otherwise I couldn”t beat Roger.
"It is never comfortable against Roger. I didn”t have many chances on his serve so I was focussing on my service games. "
Cameron SpencerGame, Sep and match: Andreas Seppi has knocked Roger Federer out of the Aussie Open
In a bizarre ending, Federer left the last two balls hit by Seppi and both went in for winners. Recalling match point, the Italian said: "It didn”t think I could get the ball. I thought it was a winner."
It is the first time the Swiss legend has lost in the third round of a Grand Slam since the 2004 French Open.
Murray, a three-time finalist here, had been scheduled to face Federer in the quarter-finals. The Swiss beat the Scot at the same stage last year here.
Federer lost in the second round of Wimbledon 2013 to Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky.
This morning No 6 seed Murray brushed aside Portuguese No 1 Joao Sousa 6-1 6-1 6-4 in the Hisense Arena to reach the last 16 for the 16th consecutive time in Majors.
Now the Scot will face the No 10 seed from Bulgaria, who is Maria Sharapova”s boyfriend and the player who ended his reign as Wimbledon champion with a brutal three-set victory in the quarter-finals in SW19 last summer.
"It should be a good match," said the three-time finalist here. "My record against him is 4-2. He has obviously improved a lot over the last couple of years. It should be a fun match."
Clive BrunskillOpening up: Andy Murray is safely through – and now won”t have to face Federer
Murray had never dropped a set against Sousa in their previous meetings and he was not about to start today. He needed only 72 minutes to win the first two sets in 72 minutes in a swirling wind while Sousa needed treatment on his left leg during the second set.
The world No 55 rallied in the 54-minute third set and broke back from 4-1 down before saving two match points. Sousa was denied the chance to challenge the final winning point and went down 6-1 6-1 7-5 in two hours and six minutes.
"I was up two sets and 4-1 and Joao came back into it and played some good tennis towards the end of the match," Murray said. "It was a good match."
Murray goes into the second week without dropping a set. "My body feels good," he said. "I have played three quite quick matches which helps. You expect each round to get a bit longer and a bit harder on the body."
Murray lost in straight sets to Dimitrov at Wimbledon – and the Bulgarian declared he felt he would beat him in the warm-up because the Scot was so off that day.
Getty ImagesWimbledon win: Bulgaria”s Grigor Dimitrov celebrates beating Andy Murray in SW19
"I thought I really played good on that day," Dimitrov recalled. "I use every single mistake that he did. I”m sure if I play him in the next round he”s going to be really focused and composed and wants to do everything to stop me. In the same time, I”m feeling really ready, and I like my chances every time I go out on the court. So I think it”s going to be a great match-up.
"But I am expecting a different Murray from that day. I think you hardly ever see like top players to feel really flat early on in the match. I think it”s a different scenario this time. I think he has a lot to look forward to.
"I think adding up the new team, I think it”s all fresh. I think it”s going to give him a bit more excitement to compete, which I”m certainly aware of. But in the same time, I feel that I”m pretty stable around me as well. I think the only thing I can do is get out there and play my tennis."
Murray has since beaten Dimitrov indoors in Paris and has a 4-2 winning record against the world No 11.
The 23-year-old admitted he struggled in needing five sets to see off 2006 finalist Marco Baghdatis in the third round – but found a way to win.
"It”s not every day you wake up in the morning and you feel 100% to play tennis," he said. "Especially on days like that, it”s really important to keep your sanity, you know, give what you got, play with what you have.
"So to me was just one of those days that pretty much nothing was going my way. But the only thing I had was like my composure, my physicality that really came through in the fifth set. I thought I played smart when I had to.
"I think that made a lot of big difference, especially in his game. I thought he was performing really well. I thought he played a really good tennis. So I just had to come up with some extra stuff from me, and I think I did."
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