Same court, same opponent, same rollercoaster ride – different result. Two years on from his dramatic five-set Australian Open defeat at the hands of Nick Kyrgios, Andreas Seppi turned the tables on the No.14 seed, saving a match point after battling back from two sets down.
Maybe it was meant to be,” said Seppi, who will face Belgium’s Steve Darcis in the third round. “I was two sets to love down and I said, last time I was two sets to love up, so let’s try to do the same to him.”
Seppi was rock-steady after recovering from a slow start, while across the net Kyrgios veered from brilliance and bombast to distracted self-destruction over the first four sets. He picked up a point penalty for his behaviour, and while both men hit more than 50 winners during the three-hour, eight-minute contest, it was Kyrgios’s 68 unforced errors –
The parallels with their 2015 meeting at Melbourne Park were impossible to ignore. Back then, the Italian had stunned Roger Federer in the third round before facing the 19-year-old firebrand, only to see a two-set lead evaporate and a match point come and go at Hisense Arena.
That day, Kyrgios dragged himself and the crowd to a spellbinding five-set victory, winning 8-6 in the fifth. This time the decider lasted 18 games after Kyrgios broke back at 6-5 to keep the match alive, before Seppi saved a match point at 8-7.