Andreas Seppi advanced to the Sydney International semifinals for the third time after upsetting No.1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a high-quality match at Ken Rosewall Arena on Thursday.
The 34-year-old, 14 years Tsitsipas’ senior, beat the Greek star 4-6 6-4 6-4 to reach the last four in his 12th visit to the Harbour City.
He also appeared in semifinals in 2006 and 2013, but is yet to appear in a final.
He’ll face No.3 seed Diego Schwartzman – who got past Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka – for a chance to go one better in 2019.
Diego does it!
— #SydneyTennis (@SydneyTennis) January 10, 2019
“I always play my best tennis in Australia – I really enjoy playing here. It’s great to be back here and in another semifinals,” said Seppi, who has also advanced to the second week in four of his past six visits to the Australian Open.
“It was very important to start well in the second set … I think was good to have early break so I could play a little more aggressive. It worked out in the end.”
What a match! Seppi wins. 🇮🇹
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 10, 2019
Seppi survived a pair of Tsitsipas break points in the eighth game of the third set, which would have handed the world No.15 a 5-3 lead and the chance to serve for the match.
Instead, he continued to play intelligent, controlled and aggressive tennis to keep Tsitsipas at bay.
With scores locked at 4-4, Seppi scorched a crosscourt forehand passing shot winner on his way to breaking serve, and comfortably served out the match in the very next game.
Despite training in wintry Colorado in the off-season, Seppi said he had acclimatised to Sydney’s heat.
“Coming here is a big difference, with a heat. (But) I enyoy playing in the heat. I don’t mind,” he said.
“I’m not as young anymore, so I hope I can recover well and play another good match tomorrow.”