On a rainy day in Sydney, the 34-year-old Italian veteran Andreas Seppi has been a happy camper, defeating the 3rd seed Diago Schwartzman 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 42 minutes for the place in his ninth ATP final, the first since Halle 2015!
Following his wins over Jeremy Chardy, Martin Klizan and the top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, Seppi delivered another excellent performance to oust the Argentinian in their opening match on the Tour, taming his shots nicely and finding a solid balance between the attacking tennis and defense that left Diego on the losing side.
The Italian played better behind his second serve, suffering three breaks of serve from eight chances he gave to Schwartzman but canceling that deficit with almost 50% of the return points won, creating 10 break chances and converting four to prevail in straight sets.
Diego had an early lead but despite giving his best it wasn't enough for at least a set, spraying too many errors and losing the edge in the pivotal moments of both parts of the match. Schwartzman fends off two break points in the opening game to avoid an early setback and he secured a break in game two when Andreas netted an easy forehand.
The Italian pulled the break back immediately following a colossal backhand error from Diego in game three and he had the upper hand now, earning another break at 2-2 to move ahead, holding at 30 with a forehand winner to grab four straight games and serve for the opener at 5-4.
With no room for errors, Schwartzman broke back in the very last moment to level the score at 5-5 and set up a tie break after two easy holds on both sides. Diego netted two easy groundstrokes to fall 4-0 down and Andreas wrapped up the set in just under an hour with a forehand drive volley winner in the 10th point to move a set away from the final.
Both players served well in the opening five games of set number two and it was Seppi who gained a 4-2 lead when he forced an error from the Argentinian in game six, serving for the win at 5-3 and his first final in four years.
Determined to fight until the very last point, Schwartzman broke back with a forehand down the line winner but it wasn't to be for him, losing serve once again in game 10 when his backhand found the net to push Andreas over the finish line and miss a chance to make the set more interesting.
The second semi-final between Alex de Minaur and Gilles Simon had to be postponed for Saturday morning, with the final scheduled for a few hours later. Semi-final result:
Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 7-6(3) 6-4