French Open 2012: Novak Djokovic survives fourth-round scare to beat Andreas Seppi in five sets

June 3rd, 20125:03 pm @


And it was to get better from there for Seppi, who had never got past the
third round at a grand slam before beating Fernando Verdasco two days ago.

The 22nd seed broke again in the ninth game and then held his nerve to serve
out the opening set, saving a break point.

Djokovic had made 17 unforced errors and seemed to be struggling to get his
footwork right in the windy conditions, but it was far from a crisis at this

The alarm bells rung a bit more when Seppi nailed a backhand winner to break
in the fifth game of the second set, but this time he could not serve it
out, gifting Djokovic the break back with a forehand over the baseline.

That seemed to be the turning point but Seppi refused to lie down and snatched
an extremely tense tie-break when Djokovic netted a forehand.

The Serb was certainly out of sorts but winning four out of five grand slams
has given him plenty of confidence that he can dig himself out of tricky
situations, although normally against higher-calibre opponents.

Djokovic fought back from two sets down against Roger Federer in the US Open
semi-finals last year, saving two match points, and also came through epic
five-setters against Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open in

He was still struggling, though, and twice gave away breaks in the third set
before finally making one stick.

The fourth set resembled the first, with Djokovic getting off to a flier, but
he missed the chance to go 4-0 up and was pegged back again.

Another tie-break looked in the offing but this time the 25 year-old managed
to seize his moment in the 12th game.

It now seemed a question of when not if and, after Seppi rather donated a
break with a tame double fault, a relieved Djokovic finally clinched victory
with a drive volley.

The Serb, who made 77 unforced errors, will certainly need to play better,
though, if he is to get past either Stanislas Wawrinka or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
in the quarter-finals, let alone threaten Rafael Nadal for the title.

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