Unseeded Jeremy Chardy is the first Frenchman into the Australian Open men's quarterfinals, with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over 21st-ranked Andreas Seppi of Italy.
The 36th-ranked Chardy won through to his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal, having arrived in the fourth round off a five-set upset of sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro.
There was a total of 26 break points in the match -- a rather unusual amount in a men’s match. Chardy successfully broke serve on six of 15 offerings, while Seppi was only able to take advantage of two of 11 opportunities.
The Frenchman seemed to be bothered by a left knee injury during the first set and had the trainer out on a couple of occasions to fix the tape wrapped under his knee. When Chardy was serving in the 11th game of the first set -- he lost his serve on a fifth break point in that game when Seppi hit a scorching backhand crosscourt winner -- he actually reached down midway through the game and pulled off some of the taping.
“It was very difficult in the beginning and I was a little bit tired,” Chardy said. “It’s the first time (here) I’ve played good. The knee is okay and now that I’m in the quarters I forget (about) it.”
Surrendering the first set was all Chardy was willing to do.
Chardy broke Seppi’s serve in the sixth game of the second set when the latter made an unforced forehand error.
In the third set, Seppi double-faulted at 30-40 in the first game to give Chardy the momentum. A forehand winner on a second break point opportunity in the fifth game gave Chardy a 4-1 lead in the set.
Chardy secured the first service break in the fourth set at 15-40 in the fifth game with a winning forehand from the baseline. In the seventh game, Seppi hit an errant forehand to lose his serve again.
All that was left for Chardy to do was serve it out and he put the match away at 40-15 with an exquisite backhand crosscourt volley.
Chardy could face a much bigger ask in the quarterfinals when he comes up against reigning U.S. Open champion and Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray.
Of course, Murray needs to get through Chardy’s countryman, Gilles Simon later today.. Considering that Simon’s first two matches went four sets, and his last was a four-hour, 43-minute marathon against fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils, it’s reasonable to suspect Simon might be well fatigued.