On 22nd January, the third match on the Margaret Court Arena, not before 2.00 PM local time, will see Italian Andreas Seppi facing #4 seed Stan Wawrinka.
With Seppi being the only Italian, man or woman, who reached the 4th round of the Australian Open, the hype in Italy – but not only there – is very high for the match.
Given the seeds, Seppi’s place should have been taken by Nick Kyrgios. However, in a tough five setter, the Aussie was outlasted by the Italian in the second round, in a revenge of the five setter in the 4th round in 2015.
Andreas Seppi entered the tournament as #85 in the world, and among the players who reached the 4th round he is the second lowest-ranked player, behind wildcard Denis Istomin.
2016, indeed, was a harsh season for the Italian, who was #87 in the year-end rankings. Last time he was lower at the end of the year was in 2004!
However, he defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round, though losing a set to the French. In the second round, Seppi was able to complete a lifetime revenge, which clearly galvanized him and gave him a lot of confidence.
In Italy, there’s a popular limerick which is “La vendetta è un piatto che va servito freddo”. Literally, it could be translated as “Revenge is a dish which must be served cold”, and it means that the revenge has to come when unexpected, after a while, when everything seems so calm. This limerick totally suits Seppi’s second round match! Indeed, two years ago, in 2015, Seppi faced Kyrgios in the 4th round at the Australian Open, and ended up losing the match despite being two sets up, eventually wasting a match point. This time, it was Kyrgios the one who was two sets up, and who had match point… but Seppi managed to overcome the situation and to get his revenge!
Moreover, taking advantage of the spot in the draw left by 22nd seed Cuevas, the Italian faced Belgian Steve Darcis in the 3rd round. He won in four sets and earned his third 4th round appearance at the Australian Open – the 5th in a Grand Slam overall.
On the other side of the net, there’s going to be Stan Wawrinka. The Us Open 2016 champion is of course expected to wake up at Wimbledon, where he is going to compete with the Career Grand Slam. In the first round, indeed, he seemed a little bit “sleepy”, though he somehow survived a scary match against Martin Klizan, winning 6-4 in the fifth set, the latter being a break up in the decider. The Swiss showed one more time that, even though his game is not at his best, his mental strength is able to overcome difficult situation. There must be a reason if he won three Grand Slams!
The Swiss was definitely more convincing in the second round, outlasting American Steve Johnson in three easy sets, and again, in the third round, things turned uneasy. He lost the first set to Victor Troicki, who had a set point in the fourth, too. Stan, however, managed to save it and to win it in four.
Not much time is left before the match. It’s going to be a tough battle, but the Italian definitely has his chances. In the first round, the key of the match was the serve, in the second the mental strength and the ability not to be distracted by Kyrgios’ attitude. If Stan doesn’t raise his level, Seppi must be convinced that he can win it. Let’s see!