The Australian Open 2015 was deprived of the biggest draw when sentimental favourite Roger Federer’s run to his 18th grand slam title was hastily cut short by Italy’s Andreas Seppi in four sets on Day 5. The Italian who was once ranked in the top 20 and had also taken a two set to love lead before loosing to Novak Djokovic at the 2012 French Open but had done precious little since, rose to the occasion and made the Swiss pay dearly for what was “A Bad Day At the Office”. Federer had not lost till the semi final stage since his maiden win in 2004 in Melbourne failed to capitalize on the mini breaks he had in the second and fourth set tie break and at no stage of the match did the Italian look like loosing. He deserved it and the hand shake at the net after the match said it all as he turned the tables on his illustrious opponent who had beaten him in all ten previous meetings. The four time champion had won the warm up event in Brisbane and also reached a major career milestone of 1000 wins looked like he had already attained his targets in Australia and will now need to have a long and hard look about his future. With the Davis cup campaign successfully completed in 2014 a shot at the Olympic Gold Medal in singles, the only thing missing in his impressive resume presents a great chance in Rio to end the career on a high note. He won the Silver in London 2012 and also Gold in Beijing 2008 partnering Stanislas Wawrinka. He will get a chance in Brazil next year.
The magnitude of that upset left the other matches as being played just for the record and ironically Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov who is considered as ‘Baby Federer’ won his third round match to the man Federer beat in the 2006 final Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus. The 10th seed won in five sets and next plays the three time runner up Andy Murray. Rafael Nadal seems to have recovered quickly after the 5 set win in the second round and next plays the tall South African Kevin Anderson who easily defeated France’s Richard Gasquet. Last years semi finalist Tomas Berdych who has progressed unnoticed to the last 16 without dropping a set faces the Australian Bernard Tomic. Another Aussie Nick Kyrgios will play Federer’s conqueror Seppi. Expect Nadal, Murray and Berdych to come through while the home court advantage should help Kyrgios to beat the Italian. Nadal will have to be on his toes against the hard serving South African Anderson who has risen to a career high ranking of 16 while Kyrgios who ended Nadal’s run at Wimbledon 2014 may produce the match of the tournament so far when he plays Seppi. Expected quarter final in the bottom half should be :
Tomas Berdych v. Rafael Nadal
Andy Murray v. Nick Kyrgios
The women’s event is progressing as per the seedings and the leader of the pack in the bottom section Maria Sharapova was back to normal service as she raced to a straight set win. The Russian no 2 seed who staved off two match points in her second round match to fellow Russian Alexandra Panova was back in her element as she brushed aside the no. 31 seed Zarina Diyas who was probably exhausted after her three set wins in the previous two rounds. The other contenders Simona Halep of Romania and the Canadian Eugenie Bourchard also advanced easily.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]