Sensational Seppi dumps Federer in Australian Open upset

admin   •   January 23, 2015   •   2524

Andreas Seppi of Italy celebrates after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in their men’s singles third round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 23, 2015.

(Reuters) – Italian Andreas Seppi sent shockwaves through the Australian Open on Friday as he toppled four-times champion Roger Federer in one of the greatest Melbourne Park upsets in recent memory.

Ranked 46th in the world and on a 23-match losing streak against top-10 opponents, the 30-year-old Seppi jumped out to a two-set lead and weathered the inevitable comeback to triumph 6-4 7-6(5) 4-6 7-6(5) in the thrilling third round encounter played out before a heaving Rod Laver Arena.

With the terraces shrieking through the decisive tiebreaker, Seppi was superb in the nerve-jangling clinches, and his lunging forehand passing shot that kissed the line and sealed the match will be a feature on highlight reels for years to come.

“I just tried to enjoy to play center court again,” the unshaven Italian said in a courtside interview after ending Federer’s 13-year run to the last 16 at Melbourne Park.

“I just tried to do my best and I think it was one of the best matches (of my career).

“It was great to play in front of a full stadium.”

Seppi had lost all 10 of his previous matches against the second-seeded Swiss, who was also riding a 22-match winning streak against Italian opposition.

Having lived dangerously in the second round with a four-set win over another Italian in Simone Bolelli, 33-year-old Federer was off-color from the start, shanking wild forehands well outside the lines and failing to convert a raft of break-points on a glorious, sunny day.

“I guess I won the wrong points out there today,” a gloomy Federer told reporters.

“The end wasn’t pretty… I just somehow couldn’t play my best tennis today and it was partially because Andreas played very well today.

“Maybe the rhythm was missing but I feel like that very often (before matches).”

His downfall robs the tournament of one of its most dependable guests, the Swiss having made the semi-finals or better in his 11 previous campaigns.


The upset also tore open the bottom half of the draw, giving the likes of Andy Murray and Rafa Nadal added hope of adding to their grand slam tallies.

Briton Murray will have to negotiate his Wimbledon nemesis next, however, after setting up a fourth-round clash against rising Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov by beating Portugal’s Joao Sousa at Hisense Arena.

The Scottish sixth seed was mostly in top form in his emphatic 6-1 6-1 7-5 win over Sousa but Dimitrov, who ended his Wimbledon title defense last year, will be his first real test.

The 23-year-old Bulgarian was dragged into a five-set dog-fight by 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis, the match playing out in a football-crowd atmosphere at rowdy Showcourt Three.

The big-hearted Cypriot rode a huge wave of support from Melbourne’s ethnic Greek fans onto a two sets-to-one lead before ultimately losing the battle of fitness 4-6 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-3.

Another young player expected to rock the tennis establishment, Canadian seventh seed Genie Bouchard labored early at Rod Laver Arena against Caroline Garcia but went on a seven-game tear to bagel the Frenchwoman, winning 7-5 6-0.

“I don’t think it was the prettiest tennis out there today,” the hard-hitting 20-year-old said. “I’m just happy I got through even though I wasn’t playing my best.”

Bouchard will next face 42nd-ranked Romanian Camelia Irina-Begu, who will make her fourth round debut in a grand slam, unlike the other six qualifiers that have made the last-16 of the women’s draw.

The absence of women’s champion Li Na has left a hole for organizers of the “Asia-Pacific” grand slam, but Peng Shuai has taken on Li’s mantle with aplomb, continuing the pattern of late-blooming Chinese women.

The 21st seed and U.S. Open semi-finalist eased past Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6(7) 6-3 to reach the fourth round, matching her best performance at Melbourne Park in 2011.

Men’s seventh seed Tomas Berdych continued his tranquil run, blasting Serb Viktor Troicki 6-4 6-3 6-4, while women’s third seed Simona Halep was safely through with a 6-4 7-5 win over flamboyant American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

(Editing by John O’Brien)

Switzerland reopens its border to Italians as coronavirus travel restrictions ease

UNTV News   •   June 15, 2020

The Italian-Swiss border reopened on Monday (June 15) allowing people living in the border towns of Como and Chiasso to freely cross the border which separates the two countries.

A long line of cars carrying Italian cross-border commuters working in the Italian-speaking southern canton of Ticino reached Switzerland through the border of Chiasso as coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions across Europe are gradually eased.

It is hoped the opening of borders with fellow European Union countries could help salvage the summer season for the country’s battered travel and tourism industry.

The Schengen area of 22 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland operates control-free crossings, but they have been mostly closed for three months to all but goods traffic and critical workers.

Before the crisis, an average of 3.5 million people crossed an internal EU border every day, according to a European Parliament report last year, some 1.7 million of the commuting to work. (Reuters)

(Production: Alex Fraser, Gabriele Pileri, Fabiano Franchitti)

Brazil overtakes Spain, Italy in COVID-19 confirmed cases

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

Brazil’s confirmed COVID-19 cases had exceeded 230,000 as of Saturday local time, surpassing the numbers in Spain and Italy and making the country’s outbreak the fourth largest in the world, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

According to the latest epidemiological data, the virus has infected 233,142 people and left 15,633 dead. The number of confirmed cases in Brazil has jumped to the fourth in the world, following the United States, Russia and the UK.

Brazil saw 14,919 new confirmed cases and 816 additional deaths on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the Vice President office, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao and his wife undertook COVID-19 tests on Saturday after a household help who had close contact with them was tested positive. The couple are under quarantine at home now.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro strongly supported the resumption of business activities and ending large-scale isolation as soon as possible during an interview Saturday.

The president said the isolation measures taken by the governors and mayors of different states will bring more chaos, hunger and poverty, and a total of 380 million people without formal jobs have lost everything in the outbreak. He is worried that it will be difficult to recover the economy and social order.

However, as the epidemic is almost out of control in Brazil, most of the country’s states and municipalities decided to further strengthen the isolation measures to ensure the safety of people. (Reuters)

Italy eases restrictions after fewest daily deaths from COVID-19 reported

UNTV News   •   May 4, 2020

Italy has started easing its restrictions since Monday in its second phase of returning to normal life, as the country on Sunday reported 174 new deaths from COVID-19, the fewest since the lockdowns began nearly two months ago.

At the news, many Italians seem relieved, while others are nervous about the future. Under phase 2, relatives can reunite in small groups. For Silvia Poletto’s three kids, it has been a two-month wait but now they will reunite with their grandma in the countryside.

“It will be amazing because they will have open air and their grandmother all at once. So, I’m really emotional about that, I can’t wait for it,” said Poletto.

Parks will reopen and residents will be allowed outside. For Poletto’s husband Maurizio Levante, he admitted it was a big step after two months inside.

“Compared to the past, it’s nothing but now it’s a lot. I think we will appreciate a lot, much more than before the freedom,” said Levante.

“I am a bit even scared about this, it won’t be a normal life, it will be a different life. I think for everybody,” said Poletto.

During phase 2, manufacturing and construction will also start again.

“It will be difficult the first day, the first week to adapt to the new measures, we will still feel this lockdown in the weeks ahead because we haven’t worked and the costs have remained,” said Nicola Rapino, who owns a construction company based in Pescara.

Upon construction resumptions, those sites have to adhere to work-safe measures, such as temperature checks, masks, gloves and social distancing.

Another sector set to restart is the auto industry, but car dealerships are apprehensive that there will not be any customers. Francesco Barbuscia is the owner of the car dealership Barbuscia Auto S.r.l. , which has been in his family for 100 years. He feared that many in the business will have no choice but to close and this has been the most difficult period his company has ever experienced.

“There’s a mix of excitement and fear because the question is who will come when we reopen to buy a car. This is a game changer for all of us, and certainly for the automotive dealerships,” said Barbuscia.

“In 2009, the market dropped down after the financial crisis of 23 percent and less than a half survived that crisis. Now we’re looking at figures of minus 30 percent; so, many of us will not survive,” he added.

It is a sentiment shared by those businesses who have to wait another month to open, such as hairdressers, beauticians and restaurants. But the government said a slow and staged reopening is the only way Italy can move forward.

As of Sunday, Italy has reported a total of 209,328 COVID-19 cases, with 79,914 recovered, and 28,710 deaths, according to the Italian Ministry of Health. (Reuters)

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