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Roger Federer vs Andreas Seppi ATP Rotterdam Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Federer targets Rotterdam final after sealing No. 1 ranking

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 17 Feb 2018
  • Roger Federer vs Andreas Seppi is live from Rotterdam on Saturday, 17 February from 7:30pm local time/ 6:30pm GMT
  • Federer has a 13-1 record over Seppi, but he famously lost to the Italian at the 2015 Australian Open
Roger Federer. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

After ensuring his ascent to the No. 1 ranking with victory over Robin Haase on Friday, Roger Federer sets his sights on winning the Rotterdam title- and a spot in the final is on the line when he takes on Italian, Andreas Seppi on Saturday.

Following his run to the Rotterdam semi-finals, Federer will overtake great rival Rafael Nadal when the rankings are updated on Monday, thus becoming the oldest man to occupy top spot. The great Swiss smashed the previous record held by Andre Agassi by over three years. Federer’s rise to No. 1 represents another chapter in this wonderful comeback story, which has seen the Swiss defy predictions of demise to dominate the sport once again. 

By the end of 2016, a recuperating Federer had not played tennis for almost six months, had slipped out of the world’s top 15, and had not won a major since Wimbledon in 2012. Logic suggested then that his Grand Slam winning days were over, and any attempted comeback would be more of a pale swansong rather than a remarkable resurgence. He was 35 after all.

How wrong that logic was! The great Swiss shocked and entertained in equal measure with his magnificent 2017, claiming a tour-leading seven titles, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and he has continued in a similar fashion in 2018, winning the Australian Open, and now, regaining the No. 1 ranking. Federer has been perfect in 2018, winning all four singles’ matches as Switzerland won the Hopman Cup in Perth, going unbeaten through seven matches at the Australian Open, and bagging three more wins in Rotterdam to reach the semi-finals.

After beating Ruben Bemelmans and Philip Kohlschreiber in the opening two rounds in Rotterdam, Federer took on Robin Haase in Friday’s quarter finals, knowing that a win will confirm his ascent to the top of the world. Haase had not read the script, taking the opening set with some aggressive talent. However, Federer completely turned the tables in the remainder of the match, sparing his ailing opponent just two more games in a ruthless 4-6 6-1 6-1 riposte.

“Losing the first set, definitely got my head spinning a little bit. It reminded me that I had to go and get the victory tonight. It wasn’t going to be handed to me. I had to change my plan and started to play more aggressively.

He will play Italian, Andreas Seppi in the Saturday’s semi-finals.

Seppi only got into the Rotterdam main draw as a lucky loser, but hasn’t he made the most of that opportunity? The 33-year-old took out Joao Sousa in three sets in the opening round, before scoring a massive 6-4 6-3 win over an off-colour world number four, Alexander Zverev in the second round- his first victory over a top-ten player in a completed match since he stunned Roger Federer at the Australian Open in 2015.

Seppi backed up his victory over Zverev with another impressive win over Daniil Medvedev to reach his first ATP semi-final since Antalya in June 2017. Other than that Antalya semi-final, his only other result of note through a generally underwhelming 2017 was a fourth-round run at the Australian Open. Seppi reached a career-high ranking of No. 18 in 2013, and was a fairly consistent top-50 player over the next couple of seasons, but his ranking came tumbling down from 2016 as he struggled with a hip injury, dropping as far down as 102 in the middle of last season. Currently ranked 81st in the world, a solid week in Rotterdam should help in his bid to rebuild his ranking, with the Italian projected to break back into the top 60 on Monday, regardless of what happens in the rest of the week.

Seppi failed to qualify for Doha in his 2018 opener, but he stepped down to the Challenger level to claim the Canberra title, before making a fourth-round run at the Australian Open. He lost in the second round in Sofia, but has seized his chance in Rotterdam to return to an ATP semi-final.

After his big win over Zverev in the second round, Seppi suffered no hangovers in his next match against Medvedev, holding his nerve to beat the Russian in the last eight. The Italian edged a tight first set on a tie break, but Medvedev hit back to take the second, forcing a decider. The outcome of the final set hinged on a three-break swing midway through the set- and it was Seppi who emerged with a 4-2 lead, an advantage that would never be relinquished.

The 33-year-old failed to convert three match points as Medvedev served to stay in the match at 2-5, but Seppi would not be denied, closing out the match on his own serve in the next game.
Without possessing any outstanding weapons, Seppi thrives with his solidity and consistency from the back of the court, and that was good enough to take out Federer at the 2015 Australian Open in what remains arguably the most memorable victory of Seppi’s career. However, the Italian has won just one set in 13 other meetings against the great Swiss... 

Federer is on a whole new level, and a far better place these days, and buoyed by his new-found No. 1 status, the Swiss should progress into the Rotterdam final. 

Roger Federer vs Andreas Seppi is live from Rotterdam on Saturday, 17 February from 7:30pm local time/ 6:30pm GMT

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Roger Federer vs Andreas Seppi ATP Rotterdam Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Federer targets Rotterdam final after sealing No. 1 ranking

Roger Federer continues his Rotterdam campaign on Saturday when he takes on Andreas Seppi. Can Federer celebrate his rise to No. 1 with a spot in the Rotterdam final? Read our preview, predictions and live stream.

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