We’ll see what the early star of the 2019 Australian Open has in store for an encore when 20-year-old American Frances Tiafoe takes on veteran Andreas Seppi in a third-round battle at Melbourne Park.
For those in the United States looking to watch, the match is scheduled to start Thursday around 8:30 p.m. ET (after the conclusion of Kontinen/Peers vs. Skupski/Skupski). It won’t be on TV, but you can watch the entire match live on your computer, phone or streaming device via ESPN+, the new digital streaming service from ESPN (no cable subscription necessary) that will have coverage of all non-televised 2019 Australian Open matches.
You can sign up for a free seven-day trial of ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch a live stream of Tiafoe vs Seppi on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One or other compatible streaming device via the ESPN app.
Tiafoe vs Seppi Preview
While Frances Tiafoe has already enjoyed some impressive moments in his young career, including pushing Roger Federer to five sets at the 2017 US Open and capturing his first ATP title in February, there weren’t many who expected him to beat No. 5 seed Kevin Anderson–a player who Tiafoe lost to three times in 2018–in the second round of the 2019 Australian Open.
And when Anderson–who is sixth on Tour in percentage of service games won and thus difficult to come back against–jumped out to a set and 3-0 lead, Tiafoe’s chances of a victory only further shrunk.
But from there on out, he was a dominant, energy-filled force, hitting a variety of creative slices and powerful forehands that reminded the world of his potential. By the end of the match, he had the crowd on his side and a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 victory.
“I lost to Kevin three times last year,” Tiafoe said. “I was down a set and break today. I went to a different place. I dug deep. It’s just how bad you want it, and I wanted it bad.”
Tiafoe advanced to the third round at Wimbledon last year, but one more win will give him his first trip to a Grand Slam fourth round. Though if he continues to play like he did down the stretch against Anderson, a deep run isn’t out of the question.
“Look at today, I mean, he is five in the world,” Tiafoe said after his win over Anderson. “I was able to beat him. It’s so tight now. Anybody plays a good match, you can beat anybody on a given day.”
Standing in his way is veteran Andreas Seppi, who is ranked two spots ahead of Tiafoe (37th vs 39th) in the world rankings. The 34-year-old has advanced to the fourth round at Melbourne Park in three of the last four years and four times overall, but he’s never advance to the quarterfinals. His 20-13 record at the Australian Open is his best of the Grand Slam events.
Seppi took down No. 31 seed Steve Johnson in four sets in the first round, then followed that up with a straight-set victory over Australian Jordan Thompson. He has been especially good in the return game, as he won four of five break points against Johnson and six of 13 against Thompson. He has taken advantage of second serves winning 53.5 percent of those points (for reference, Rafael Nadal leads the Tour in that stat at 56.6 percent), so Tiafoe will need to get his first serve in consistently.
The winner will face either No. 20 seed Grigor Dimitrov or Thomas Fabbiano.
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