Former World No.1 Lleyton Hewitt (Player Profile) begins his run at the Shanghai Rolex Masters 2013 on Tuesday afternoon against Italy’s Andreas Seppi (Player Profile). The two have met on five previous occasions, Hewitt leads the Head to Head with 3-2.
Hewitt is coming off a successful few months dating back to the US Open in August, where he made the second week of the tournament. The Australian defeated Bryan Baker, Juan Martin del Potro and Evgeny Donskoy before losing to Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round. The 32-year-old followed that up with an impressive showing in the Davis Cup, where he helped Australia reach the World Group with a win over Poland. In Beijing last week, Hewitt upset World No. 12 Tommy Haas en route to making the second round of the tournament. Hewitt has since moved up the ranks back to No. 54 and holds a 14-10 record on hard courts this season and 3-2 in Masters 1000 tournaments.
World No. 22 Andreas Seppi has had a decent season in 2013, reaching 4 ATP semifinals and breaking his losing streak at the US Open by reaching the third round this year. He also reached the final 16 at Wimbledon, losing only to Juan Martin del Potro. While the Italian began the year at No. 18 in the ATP rankings, he has dropped four places over the year, yet has managed to stay consistent enough to remain in the top 25. With fellow countryman Fabio Fognini ranked at No. 17, this marks the first time two Italians have ranked in the top 25 since 1996 (Furlan and Gaudenzi). He has a 14-13 record on hard courts this season and 4-7 in Masters 1000.
If Hewitt gets past Seppi in the opening round, he likely sets up a second round clash with long-time rival Roger Federer. Although their head-to-head stands at 18-8, the Australian has only defeated Federer once in the last 10 years (Halle 2010) and will be looking to end Federer’s run in Shanghai in the opening round.
This is the sixth meeting between Hewitt and Seppi on the ATP tour. Hewitt holds wins in their most recent encounters at Halle (2011) and Sydney (2010). Seppi has not defeated Hewitt since 2008, where he needed three hard sets to steal the match. The stylistic match-up favours the Australian, yet considering they have not competed for the better part of two years, Seppi may have a few tricks up his sleeve for the former No. 1.