Italy’s Seppi breaks
new-ground in Dubai

Italy’s Andreas Seppi became the first seeded player through to the last 16 of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a straight-sets victory over Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu on Monday.

By Alex Leach

Published: Tue 26 Feb 2013, 11:58 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:56 AM

The world number 20 from Bolzano broke Mathieu’s serve thrice and only lost his own once in the opening set to seal it 6-3 on a windswept Centre Court.

Mathieu hit back at the start of the second set, exchanging two breaks apiece with Seppi in a set that looked destined for a tie-break until the latter finally broke again in the 12th game to close it out 6-3, 7-5. It was Seppi’s first-ever win in the main draw here in six attempts since 2006 and his inaugural success over Mathieu from four efforts.

Andreas Seppi in action agianst Paul-Henri Mathieu during their ATP Dubai Open tennis match Monday. — KT photo by Rahul Gajjar

“It wasn’t a very good match,” admitted the 29-year-old seventh seed, who forced 15 break points overall and converted six of them. “There were difficult conditions, with the wind changing a lot sometimes, so it wasn’t easy.

“I just tried to play a little bit more solidly by keeping the ball a little bit more in the centre and not playing so many angles.

“I managed to win this match well and it’s my first victory here, so it’s good for me. I’ve always really liked this tournament. I was saying to myself: ‘I have to come back until I win my first match’ and it happened today (Monday). It’s a good start here. I felt pretty comfortable, so maybe I can play a little bit in the next match.”

Seppi will face Lukas Rosol in the subsequent phase after the Czech beat Italian qualifier Matteo Viola by an identical scoreline (6-3, 7-5) as Seppi’s result.

“It’s going to be another good match for me to play,” he added. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Eighth-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny followed Seppi’s lead thereafter, coming back from an initial 6-1 deficit against Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic to prevail 1-6, 6-1, 6-3.

“It was a bad start from me for the first half of hour of that opening set. I made so many mistakes,” the 30-year-old conceded.

“I just tried to continue to play, put more balls in the court and not have too many mistakes.

“I’m happy because I didn’t play well and show my good tennis, but I passed the first round.”

Rosol, Seppi and Youzhny are joined in the next round by German qualifier Daniel Brands and Roberto Bautista Agut, of Spain, who overcame fellow qualifier Florent Serra (7-6 (7), 6-4) from France and talented Belgian David Goffin (6-2, 7-5) respectively.

Brands will now meet Youzhny in round two, whereas Bautista Agut awaits the winner of Tuesday evening’s match between Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic and his compatriot Viktor Troicki.

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