Andreas Seppi rolled back the years with a vintage performance on Friday night to advance to the Sydney International final – his first ATP Tour title match for three-and-a-half years (2015 Gerry Weber Open).
The 34-year-old Italian remained in control for the majority of his 7-6(3), 6-4 semi-final victory over third-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman in one hour and 42 minutes.
Seppi, who will now look to claim his first ATP Tour title since October 2012 at the VTB Kremlin Cup (d. Bellucci), awaits the winner of fourth-seeded Frenchman and 2011 titlist Gilles Simon and #NextGenATP fifth seed Alex de Minaur of Australia. Simon leads Seppi 6-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but Seppi has not played De Minaur before at tour-level.
World No. 19 Schwartzman took a 2-0 lead at the start of their first meeting, before Seppi showed great courage to regroup with four straight games. Although the eighth seed was broken when serving for the first set at 5-4, a strong performance in the tie-break resettled his nerves.
While Seppi moved to a 5-2 advantage in the second set, Schwartzman became more aggressive to recover to 4-5. With both players getting edgy, Seppi once again stepped up and completed victory when Schwartzman struck a backhand into the net.