Agonising five-set loss for Seppi, Fabbiano outclassed

ROME – Italy's hopes for Austrialian Open success took a hit early on Friday morning (CET) as both Andreas Seppi and Thomas Fabbiano were knocked out of the Melbourne Grand Slam in the third round.

 Fabbiano was outmuscled in three sets by Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, while Seppi narrowly lost out to the in-form Frances Tiafoe in a closely-fought five-setter. 

 Tiafoe, who knocked out fifth seed Kevin Anderson in the second round in Melbourne, recovered from a two sets to one down to beat Seppi 6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. 

 A break of serve in the opening game of the final two sets proved pivotal for the American, as Seppi never managed to get back on terms. Serving for the fourth at 5-4 ahead, Tiafoe went 0-40 down, but played a brilliant game to deprive Seppi of the break he needed, using that momentum to get off to a flyer in the fifth. 

 Fabio Fognini, who plays Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday morning in the third round, is now the only remaining Italian in the mens' singles draw in Australia. Qualifier Stefano Travaglia made in into the second round of the Slam before losing out in five sets to 19th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, while Matteo Berrettini, Luca Vanni and 17th seed Marco Cecchinato all lost their opening matches.

 In the women's draw, Italy's lone representative Camila Giorgi faces seventh seed Karolina Pliskova in her third round tie, with a potential match-up against two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza on the cards in the following round.