Andreas Seppi put Novak Djokovic to the test today in heavy, windy conditions, racing to a two sets to love lead to almost crush his dream of holding all four Grand Slam titles at the same time and completing a career Grand Slam. Ultimately Novak came out on top 4-6, 6-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in four hours and minutes.
Seppi settled into the match early while Novak looked troubled by the heavy conditions and struggled to hold serve in the wind. The second set was more of the same as Djokovic struggled to find his rhythm and Seppi repeatedly struck beautiful backhands to push Nole around the court.
The experience of Novak showed as he fought to get the second set to 5-5 after facing a set point before watching the set slip away in a close tiebreak while the crowd watched on in shock.
Early in the fourth set, when Seppi was looking down the barrel of a 0-4 deficit, it looked like Novak would restore order swiftly.
Break point chances seemed to provide Seppi with a second wind that allowed him to claw his way to 3-3 after a long service game that would surely have been the end for him had he dropped serve.
Tired shots were punished by Novak as he roared and equalized the match at two sets all.
The longer the match dragged on the more it favoured Nole and as soon as Novak took the fourth set it seemed Seppi’s exhausted body could do no more.
As the clock ticket towards four hours Seppi struggled to hold his opening service game as the pace steadily dropped off his shots. A weary double fault gave Novak the break and a 4-2 lead and ultimately the match.
Even though Seppi lost from a two sets to love lead he earnt incredible respect today for fighting right to the end against extreme fatigue and the very best player in the world.