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Stan Wawrinka closed out the match with back-to-back breaks of serve.

Stan Survives Seppi In Five Sets

Swiss next meets American John Isner

Stan Wawrinka turned a near calamity into a fighting five-set win over Andreas Seppi on Friday to return to the Australian Open third round for the first time in three years.

Wawrinka littered up the stats sheet with 34 unforced errors in the first two sets (65 for the match) but came up clutch at two critical junctures of the match. When Seppi served for a two-sets lead at 5-4 in the second set, Wawrinka broke to get back into the match. And from being down a break at 3-4 in the fifth, the former World No. 3 claimed back-to-back breaks to close out the match 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in three hours, 38 minutes.

“It was a tough five-setter that could have gone either way,” he said on court after the match. “I kept fighting and I’m super happy to get through.”

The 2014 champion at Melbourne Park next meets John Isner, who has fired 78 aces in his first two matches. Wawrinka trails the 6’ 10” American 1-3 in their ATP Head2Head.

The Swiss, who also needed four sets to top Damir Dzumhur in the first round, claimed his fifth consecutive win over Seppi, remaining perfect in nine hard-court meetings against the 35-year-old, who has reached the Australian Open four times during his career.

Wawrinka has rallied back to No. 15 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, but is still searching for his first title since winning on home soil in Geneva midway through the 2017 season.

Isner needed just 84 minutes Thursday to defeat Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tablio 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. He fired 32 aces after having served 46 aces in his four-set opening-round win over Thiago Monteiro. He has not dropped serve this tournament. Isner is donating $100 for every ace he serves during the tournament plus 25 per cent of his prize money to bushfire relief.

Wawrinka expects a stern challenge against Isner. "Tough match. We all know he is a very dangerous player, serving big. You don't get a lot of opportunity. You need to stay strong, be aggressive, try to make him play as much as possible. That's it. Stay positive all the match."