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Schwartzman vs Seppi ATP Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Will it be third-time lucky for Seppi in Sydney semi-finals?

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 10 Jan 2019
  • Diego Schwartzman vs Andreas Seppi is live from Sydney on Friday, 11 January from 3:30pm local time/ 4:30am GMT
  • Schwartzman and Seppi meet for the first time on Friday
Andreas Seppi. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Contesting his third Sydney semi-final, can veteran Italian, Andreas Seppi take down the tenacious Argentine, Diego Schwartzman and advance to his first final at the tournament?

Seppi reached the Sydney semis in 2006 and 2013, but lost to Igor Andreev and Bernard Tomic respectively- is this the year when he takes that next step and moves on to the championship match?

Seppi had lost to Andrey Rublev in the first round of the Qatar Open in his season-opener in Doha last week, but he has bounced back strongly in Sydney to make the semis.

The 34-year-old has come through a difficult route, taking down Brisbane semi-finalist, Jeremy Chardy in three sets in the first round before defeating dangerous Slovak left-hander, Martin Klizan 7-6 6-2. Faced with the challenge of top seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last eight, Seppi showed commendable grit to battle back from a set down to record a fine 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory after two hours and 10 minutes. While Tsitsipas carried the greater firepower- he served 15 aces to Seppi's 2- the experienced Italian was the steadier of the two, winning over 70% of both his first and second serve points, and saving six of the seven break points he faced.

The first set proceeded without any break points until Tsitsipas struck in the tenth game, converting his second break point of the game to snatch the set at the death. Seppi's response was instant, breaking in the opening game of the second set to take control of the set. It got a bit untidy in the end, as he failed to convert two set points as Tsitsipas served at 3-5, and sank into a 0-40 hole while attempting to serve out the set in the next game, but he dug deep to win five points in a row to drag the match into a final set.

The match remained tight in the decider, with the first seven games going with serve, but after saving two break points to hold for 4-4, Seppi grabbed the crucial break in the next game before serving out the upset to love.

“I always play my best tennis in Australia”, the Italian said. "I really enjoy playing here. It’s great to be back here and in another semi-finals. 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."

Despite missing almost two months between February and April last season, Seppi still finished the year inside the top 40, making ATP World Tour semi-finals in Budapest, Rotterdam and Moscow and notably reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open. The former world No. 18, who possesses three career titles, is looking to reach his ninth tour-level final and a first since June 2015 when he made the final in Halle and lost to Roger Federer. 

He has got a big battle on his hands if he is to make the championship match in Sydney as he takes on the dogged Argentine, Diego Schwartzman on Friday.

Diego Schwartzman. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Schwartzman doesn't shirk a grind, and he was once again required to fight hard for his quarter final victory over Yoshihito Nishioka, battling past the Japanese in a third set tie break after an hour and 49 minutes.

The world number 19 flew out of the gates against Nishioka, breezing through the first five games and wrapping up the opening set inside 20 minutes, but Nishioka turned the tide in the second set, winning the first three games on his way to leveling the match. The left-hander carried that momentum into the final set, breaking in the first game of the match, but Schwartzman hit back straight away to restore parity. There were no more break points until the 12th game, when Schwartzman forced two match points on Nishioka's serve, but the Japanese kept himself alive pushing the set into a tie break. Schwartzman took control of the breaker, dropping just one point to storm into the last four.

The Argentine climbed as high as No. 11 in the world when he reached the quarter finals of the French Open last season, scoring quality wins over Borna Coric and Kevin Anderson before falling to Rafael Nadal. (He had Nadal in all sorts of trouble for about a set and a half, but the King of Clay, thanks in part to the rain, was able to turn the match around and claim a four-set win in the following day).

Apart from that brilliant run at Roland Garros, his other stand-out result was a title run at the ATP 500 meet in Rio, while he also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, where he lost to Nadal (again). Interestingly, he been drawn to meet Nadal in the fourth round of the 2019 Australian Open (again!).

For now though, his immediate focus is to take down Seppi in Auckland on Friday and advance to the final in his first tournament of the season, his first final on hard courts. This will be their first meeting, and it has the makings of a tough, hard grind. Seppi is the steadier operator, but Schwartzman does tend to be more aggressive on these hard courts, and coupled with his defensive tenacity, I reckon the Argentine has the slight edge in this contest.

Diego Schwartzman vs Andreas Seppi is live from Sydney on Friday, 11 January from 3:30pm local time/ 4:30am GMT

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Schwartzman vs Seppi ATP Sydney Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Will it be third-time lucky for Seppi in Sydney semi-finals?

Diego Schwartzman and Andreas Seppi go head-to-head for the first time in the semi-finals of the Sydney International on Friday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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