Melbourne - A stunned Roger Federer was dumped from the Australian Open on Friday in
his worst showing since 2001 as Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova
bounced back to stay in the title hunt.
In the tournament's biggest upset, the Swiss world number two had no
answer to Italian Andreas Seppi, who he had conquered in their past 10
"Just a bad day. I wish I could have played better but clearly it was
tough losing the first two sets," Federer said after crashing out in
the third round 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5).
"I had chances to get back into it but let it slip. It's a disappointing loss."
The defeat was the 17-time Grand Slam winner's earliest exit in
Melbourne in 14 years and aside from his second round Wimbledon flop in
2013, was the Swiss legend's worst performance at a major in more than a
Federer was chasing his fifth Australian Open crown, but has now not won a Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2012.
He started sluggishly and when he was broken to love in the first
set, giving Seppi a 5-4 lead, it was clear something was amiss with
"To beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five,
is a special moment for me," said the 46th ranked Seppi, who had only
taken one set off him in their previous 10 matches.
In contrast, Nadal was back to his best against Israel's Dudi Sela,
comfortably winning 6-1, 6-0, 7-5 after being pushed to the brink in a
five-set epic in the second round when he suffered dizzy spells and
"The other night was one of the toughest times I have spent on the
court and my body wasn't very well and I felt very lucky to get
through," he said.
"In general I think I was playing better than I did the other day, I was feeling better tonight."
Sharapova was also on fire, blitzing past Zarina Diyaz of Kazakhstan
6-1, 6-1 to erase memories of her big scare in the second round when she
had to save two match points.
"I started really focused, I knew I had a tough, long match
previously, so I wanted to start off strong and finish strong," said the
Russian second seed.
Murray was also in form, easily beating Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 and is yet to be seriously tested at Melbourne Park.
He will next meet Bulgarian 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who struggled
against 2006 Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis with the fired-up Cypriot
pushing him to five gruelling sets.
Murray has now reached the round of 16 for the seventh consecutive
year as he bids to track down an elusive Australian title after losing
to Federer in the 2010 final and Novak Djokovic in 2011 and 2013.
"Grigor has improved a lot over the last couple of years and it should be a fun match," said the Scot.
Dimitrov, Sharapova's boyfriend, looked headed for defeat when
Baghdatis won the third set before rallying to claim an exhausting 4-6,
6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Rising star Bouchard also progressed, but made heavy work of downing
France's Caroline Garcia, taking 56 minutes to get through the first set
before moving up a gear to win 7-5, 6-0.
"I don't think it was the prettiest tennis out there today," admitted
the seventh seeded Canadian, who has a big fan base in Australia.
Bouchard is seen as one of the new generation tipped to take the
reins from the old guard of Serena Williams and Sharapova, with Dimitrov
regarded as a contender in the men's game.
Third seed Simona Halep limped through against American world number
258 Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 7-5 and will next meet Belgium's Yanina
Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych was a more convincing winner,
powering past Serb Viktor Troicki while women's 10th seed Ekaterina
Makarova also went through.
Collated results from day five of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Friday:
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x10) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Tomas Berdych (CZE x7) bt Viktor Troicki (SRB) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
Andy Murray (GBR x6) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-1, 6-1, 7-5
Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt Roger Federer (SUI x2) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5)
Bernard Tomic (AUS) bt Sam Groth (AUS) 6-4, 7-6 (10/8), 6-3
Kevin Anderson (RSA x14) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA x24) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (8/6)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) bt Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1
Rafael Nadal (ESP x3) bt Dudi Sela (ISR) 6-1, 6-0, 7-5
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x10) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE x22) 6-4, 6-4
Julia Goerges (GER) bt Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 7-6 (8/6), 7-5
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) bt Sara Errani (ITA x14) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Peng Shuai (CHN x21) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 7-6 (9/7), 6-3
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN x7) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA) 7-5, 6-0
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) bt Carina Witthoeft (GER) 6-4, 6-4
Simona Halep (ROU x3) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 6-4, 7-5
Maria Sharapova (RUS x2) bt Zarina Diyas (KAZ x31) 6-1, 6-1