Seppi Saves 5 M.P. In Epic Zhuhai Comeback

Tsitsipas retires at start of third set against Mannarino

Andreas Seppi saved five match points in a tense deciding-set tie-break, which Chinese wild card Zhizhen Zhang had led 6/2 and 8/7, on Thursday at the Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships.

The 35-year-old Italian converted his second match point to complete a 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(8) victory in two hours and 44 minutes. In the second week of the 2019 ATP Tour season, Seppi reached his first final since 2015 at the Sydney International (l. to de Minaur).

“I don’t know how I won the match in the end, because I was also struggling a little bit physically and everything, especially at the beginning of the tie-break,” Seppi told ATPTour.com. “I was so tired. Then I was 2/6 down and I found some energy and I was for sure a little bit lucky at 4/6 with the one-handed passing shot. Maybe I make one out of 20 of those, so it was a good one to get the one.

“Then, the passing shot at 6/5, I chose the right side where to go and hit the passing shot. I just tried to play until the last point and it worked out today. Of course it was a little bit of luck, but if you don’t fight until the end, it wouldn’t happen. So I’m happy about that — also because I was really down with the energy — that I managed to fight until the end and it paid off today.”

He will now play second seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who is currently seventh in the 2019 ATP Race To London for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in November. Bautista Agut edged past fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 52 minutes.

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Elsewhere, top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is another contender for the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November, retired due to illness prior to the start of the third set against Adrian Mannarino after one hour and 50 minutes of play. Mannarino now faces Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur, who defeated fellow qualifier Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea 7-6(3), 6-2 in 90 minutes.

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