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Derek21

Australian Open

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Lost in all this snow talk is the first tennis major in hot Australia. The coverage has been good on ESPN2. They have aired some live coverage at night here on the east coast. Remember, they're 16 hours ahead of us. So, if they show a match at 10 PM here, it's 2 in the afternoon the next day there. Kind of a cool aspect :).

And I got to say I really enjoy some of the scenery they show. The atmosphere is great. They have tons of fans outside hanging out and playing around. LOL

I got to say if I ever got the nerve up to stand a 24 hour flight, I'd go there. It looks like a great place to stay!

As for the tennis, it's been very good thus far. Agassi played a great match against Swede Joachim Johansson before. This was a round of 16 match just to play the best player in the game, Federer in the quarters. After Agassi got an early break in the opening game, Johansson found his game and broke back down 4-2 to push the first set to a tiebreak, which the big Swedish bomber won. And yes, he was bombing aces and winners all over the place. He has a similar game to Roddick. He beat Andy in the U.S. Open last year. Anyway, Johansson took the opening tiebreak 7-4 and Andre seemed in trouble. He couldn't find the range on Johansson's blistering serves. Agassi had a critical hold late in the 2nd set to push it to another tiebreak. But this time, my favorite player prevailed 7-5 to level the match :doh1:. Johansson must have had 29 aces by that point :blink:. He was on his way to establishing a new record 51 aces (they've only kept the stat since 1991), two better than Richard Krajicek.

And yes, the third set also needed a tiebreak. But in this pivotal one, Agassi stepped up to the plate and took control, winning 7-3 without being aced.

Johansson didn't give up to his credit in set four. Instead, he broke Agassi to go up 2-0. But Agassi broke right back after three consecutive aces by Johansson to get out of a 0-40 hole. Agassi just played the points bigger. He broke again to go up 4-2. And when Johansson pressured to get it back on serve, Andre made the key shots to finish off an impressive four set victory, serving it out 6-4.

Now, he draws Federer in a rematch of a U.S. Open five-set classic, in which Federer prevailed in unusually windy conditions.

Hopefully, this match will be terrific. As much as I admire how Roger plays, Go Andre!!!!! I want to see him win one more grand slam. He's won this tournament four times. How great would it be to see a 34-year-old Agassi win his ninth grand slam title? But he has to get through the best to advance. It should be a treat to watch.

The best news is that Roddick is also still alive. Safin was in a dogfight tied a set apiece earlier. If he comes through that, the field is stacked.

And then there's this news. Apparently, things got heated for Lleyton Hewitt and his opponent last night. Courtesy of yahoo:

Third-round men's action Saturday was highlighted by Lleyton Hewitt's 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Juan Ignacio Chela in a match full of spit and venom.

Chela became angry when he thought Hewitt's loud cry of ``Come on!'' was a bit too much celebration for an unforced error that resulted in triple break point in the fifth game of the fourth set.

He drove his next serve at Hewitt, allowing the Australian to convert the break. Chela appeared to spit toward Hewitt when the players were switching sides.

``He spat in my direction,'' said Hewitt. ``It's unfortunate because we were having a dogfight match -- we're both competitive blokes, we were going for it.''

``It's sad that something like that happens,'' he added. ``But, you know, he apologized to me at the net when we shook hands and I said, 'Just forget about it, mate.'''

Chela said he didn't spit at Hewitt. As for the serve Hewitt had to dodge, the Argentine said he couldn't remember anything about it.

``It was a very tense moment in the match,'' he said. ``There was a lot of pressure. He thought I spat at him. I felt bad. At the end of the match, I went up to him to apologize.''

On Sunday, tournament referee Peter Bellenger, after reviewing videotapes of the match, fined Chela $2,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

I don't know what to say here. Hewitt's "Come on's" can annoy opponents. Especially when he does it when they miss shots. It's one thing to yell it when you hit a winner on a key point. But quite another to do it when your opponent makes mistakes. Gamesmanship at its finest. Lleyton has the extra burden of trying to become the first Aussie to win the tourney since Newcombe.

On the women's side, aside from no Henin-Hardiene, Capriati and Clisters, the field is stacked still and most of the top seeds have advanced to the 4th round or quarters.

Serena Williams got through her match in three nervewracking sets against Russian Nadia Petrova. But she didn't seem too confident. If she plays like that against Mauresmo, she'll lose. She's had pretty good success against Mauresmo in her career. So, it should be an interesting mental battle. I see it going three sets.

In a Russian grudge match, Maria Sharapova faces Kuznetsova. Supposedly, Kuznetsova doesn't like her.

This should make for an interesting match-up. Both can slug it out from the baseline and both have won the last two slams. Sharapova Wimbledon and Kuznetsova the U.S. Open. I see it going three but like Kuznetsova to win.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Davenport, the #1 seed has cruised along and could ultimately wind up winning her first slam in more than five years. She was the best player last year but got hurt in a semi at the Open, which prevented her from beating Russian Dentieva. As you can see, there are a lot of talented Russian women :lol:. And most are still around in this tourney including Dentieva, who lost to Kuznetsova in Queens.

Venus Williams is still lurking as well and has played better than her sister this tourney. But she faces a tough test today against 10th seeded Aussie Alicia Molik. You know who the crowd will be pulling for.

Factor in talented Russian Anastasia Myskina and it's anyone's tournament. Myskina has voiced her disapproval of Sharapova even hinting she might not play Russian Davis Cup because she doesn't like Sharapova's Dad. LOL

It makes for some intriguing stuff. Whoever wins will really have earned it. The only thing missing is Martina Hingis (hope she comes back) and Monica Seles.

The women's tourney is anyone's at this point.

Federer is the favorite to prevail and repeat at Rod Laver Court. His all-court game is why Agassi trimmed ten pounds and Hewitt bulked up and put on 10. Don't count out Roddick or Safin. Roddick has an excellent draw and has been playing well. Safin better win his match.

I hope Agassi wins. Federer even said he preferred to play him because it would be a great match-up. But I want Agassi to beat him and win the damn thing. That would be great!

Anyway, I couldn't sleep with this snow. May as well get some rest now. Hope they show the Roddick match live tomorrow night.

They'll air some taped stuff at noon today. I bet they show some of Agassi's match cause it was good.

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From what I saw of Johannson at the US Open his backhand is pretty weak. He needs to work on a few elements of his game and he will be a top three player in the world. His forehand is nasty.

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Agassi's will is SO strong. The guy is blistering serves past him and he keeps his focus and still wins in four sets. There was only one letdown in his game and that was right after he won the second tiebreaker.

Really really impressive.

And go Saf! He's a nut, but I love him.

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Agreed Esb about Andre's will. A lot of players might have wilted under that. Agassi is so much tougher now that he was at the beginning of his career. And he's in much better shape. It's a tribute to how hard he rededicated himself. I hope he wins against Roger! That will be a great match.

I kind of agree with you dr about Joachim's backhand. He needs to work on it. He doesn't get low sometimes and followthrough. But then again, he's swinging for winners on both sides. He's going for broke. So, his style is hit or miss. Kind of how Andre used to be on the ground.

Joachim needs to work on his quickness and go to net more. With his size, he'd be dynamite. I think he has a good chance to win at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open. We'll see.

Esb, Safin won his match in four sets last night. He won the last three in tiebreaks. So, he had a tough one.

Also, Nalbandian plays Coria today. The winner might get Hewitt in the quarters pending the outcome of his match.

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Here's an article on the big match. Not sure if it's being covered live. It isn't cause it's a night match there. But they will show it tomorrow afternoon at 2.

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/au...tory?id=1974131

Federer, Agassi to meet in Aussie Open quarters

Monday, January 24, 2005

By Cynthia Faulkner

ESPN.com

Roger Federer is often compared to Pete Sampras. And when Federer plays Andre Agassi, parallels are drawn between the two rivalries.

But there are differences.

Sampras and Agassi were peers with contrasting styles, battling it out. Their rivalry provided great moments in tennis. Agassi vs. Federer provides great moments in tennis with poignancy.

For while Agassi hopes to build his history with more Grand Slam titles, Federer made history last year by winning three of the major titles, leaving little left for anyone else.

Plus as Agassi points out, Federer is not Sampras.

"They're both very relaxed on the court as far as how they play the game," Agassi said last week. "They both play it very easily. But I don't feel like their weapons are the same."

Federer's weapons are formidable.

"I think he right now is playing better than anybody I've ever played, from Sampras to Agassi," said ATP tour veteran Greg Rusedski last week. "

Edited by Derek21

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ESPN2

DATE SHOW TIME (ET)

Jan. 24 2005 Australian Open

Venus Williams vs. Alicia Molik

Melbourne, Australia 2:00 pm to

6:30 pm

missed this already. Williams lost to Molik 7-5, 7-6. The crowd must have gone crazy.

Jan. 24 2005 Australian Open

Australian Open Tennis

Serena Williams vs. Amelie Mauresmo

Melbourne, Australia 9:30 pm to

1:30 am

-Live coverage tonight 1:30 PM Aussie time to 5:30 PM

Jan. 25 2005 Australian Open

Roger Federer vs. Andre Agassi

Melbourne, Australia 2:00 pm to

5:00 pm

Tape

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If there are any big Agassi fans, set your VCRs for 3:30 AM on ESPN2. They're airing the Agassi-Federer match live.

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Agassi got owned by Federer last night!

Straight sets 6-3 6-4 6-4.

I think Federer will go all the way! he is such a beast!

Go Hewitt and Molik btw! ^ ^

AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!! OI! OI! OI!

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Federer seems to have no competition right now. Once Johannson improves his game I think he will and Roddick seems to be the only one who has a chance to beat him.

As for Aussies, I miss my favourite tennis player of all time Pat Rafter. I loved the way he played.

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I felt sorry for Andre in the third set :(. He looked so helpless out there and he wasn't even playing badly. It was just that Federer was playing so brilliantly that Andre had no chance.

His best opportunity was when Roger was serving for the first set and he had three break points to get it back on serve. He had to get one of them and take the first set to have a chance.

That performance by Federer might be the greatest I've seen. Some of the shots he made defied logic.

My main hope for Andre is that he's not discouraged. He needs to get his ranking up like Mary Carillo said, that way he doesn't have to play Federer in a quarter.

I do believe Safin can push Roger. He is playing very well and has a big serve and big game. But he'll have to get out to a good start.

I also think Roddick would have a shot if he got to the final because his speed has improved as well as his backhand.

Tonight's live coverage is at 10 PM. Davenport against Molik. I guess we know who brodeur is rooting for ;).

Roddick's quarter is against a 26th seed. So, I expect him to advance without much trouble. If he does, he'd get the winner of Hewitt vs Nalbandian.

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Ofcourse i was rooting for Molik, Derek.

haha.

Its a shame that she lost today :(

I watched most of it and the umpires gave bad calls throughout the whole game to both players especially Molik.

Anywo.. Hewitt is through the next round!

Good News!

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You know, Andre's performance is like the best worst performance you can give against Federer. He didn't wilt like Hewitt did. He got broken once a set -- and right away in the final two sets, but that still didn't throw his focus.

In that sense, it's impressive.

Of course, far farrrrr more impressive is what Federer can do. I find myself wishing that he could play Sampras in his prime. Too bad we can only set up those showdowns on video games.

Remember the 20-18 Federer-Safin tiebreaker? I hope their match winds up being that good.

I don't like a lot of dominant players like Federer in just about all sports, but I am really impressed by the guy and his attitude. After Saf and Andre, I def. root for him. The really REALLY impressive stat is "last 24 meetings against the Top 10, he's 24-0." Wow.

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Ofcourse i was rooting for Molik, Derek.

haha.

Its a shame that she lost today :(

I watched most of it and the umpires gave bad calls throughout the whole game to both players especially Molik.

Anywo.. Hewitt is through the next round!

Good News!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Her match against Davenport was great. Unfortunately, they missed a key ace call which would have given Molik a 7-6 lead in the pivotal game. Davenport eventually broke and served it out. But Molik did herself proud. I thought it was a gutsy effort by Lindsay cause she looked dead tired. It looked like Molik had more left. She sure left it out there.

Anyway, the classic showdown was overshadowed by Lleyton Hewitt's five-set win over David Nalbandian. I knew this would go five but it was odd how it got there. Nalbandian played badly the first two sets giving them to Lleyton easily. But then the exact reverse happened in sets three and four as Nalbandian stepped up his game. The final set was some of the best tennis you'll see. Both players cleaned up their ground strokes and went for winners. There were much better rallies. It made for some quality tennis. I knew whoever broke first would prevail. Full credit goes out to Nalbandian for coming back. He was two points from victory three times. But also much due to Hewitt for not wilting. He showed a lot of heart out there.

Will he have anything left in the tank against Roddick? A semifinal rematch three years in the making since their epic five-setter at the U.S. Open. Hopefully, it will be another classic.

All four top seeds have advanced in the men's bracket. Federer takes on Safin tomorrow.

Live on ESPN2 tonight- 9:30 PM (1:30 PM Aussie time)

Women's semis-

Sharapova vs S. Williams- a rematch of the Wimbledon final, which Sharapova won in straights. She also beat Williams soundly last fall. But Serena is playing better now. I like her in three sets.

Davenport vs Dechy- both won long three set quarters that lasted more than 2.5 hours yesterday. Both will have no day off. Dechy is the surprising semifinalist from France. Davenport is the favorite. She should prevail.

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For some reason I never get into the Aussie Open like I do with the other Grand Slams. Maybe because I don;t fele like it is tennis season or I need to start playing a lot to get in the mood.

Anyway Surprised Safin amde it so far. Any anger management problems from him yet? Looks like great mens semifinal matches I'll have to catch.

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I used to be the same way but not anymore. This year's has been unreal.

I doubt the U.S. Open will be able to top it.

All four top men's seeds in the semis.

And an all-American women's rivalry renewed: Davenport vs Williams

The Williams-Sharapova match was incredible. Williams' true heart came out and she showed her old form when she faced three match points and three break points in the final set.

They just slugged it out from the baseline in the pivotal second set. I really believe Maria got tired and expended so much energy trying to finish off Serena in straight sets, that she had nothing left in the third. She did well to not throw in the towel in the third. Serena just had more left in the tank and it showed at the end.

I am not going to say the kid choked. She left it out there. Serena wasn't going to be denied. Full credit to her for silencing critics.

The match lasted almost three hours :blink:.

I also have to give high marks to Dechy for how well she played against Davenport. I thought Lindsay would breeze in straights. But Lindsay looked very sluggish. She played a long doubles match yesterday as well to go with her epic against Malik. It showed in all the unforced errors she made and double faults.

Dechy fought off five second set points and forced a tiebreaker. She came within two points of reaching the final. But when push came to shove, Lindsay willed her way to her first grand slam final since the 2000 U.S. Open.

I will pull for her to win the title over Serena. She hasn't won in a while and it would be nice to see her get one more slam. I like Serena to win it though.

Unfortunately, the Federer vs Safin match will be shown later today at 2 on tape. I am purposely not going to find out who won so I can watch it. I think it has the potential to be a great one. But it's all up to Safin. If he brings his 'A' game, watch out. If not, Federer will cruise.

Roddick vs Hewitt will be aired live at 3:30 AM tomorrow.

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Man.. this years Australian open has been a blast! there has been like 3 matches that has been decided on the last set with both players having scored over 6 points!

Matches has been entertaining aswell!

I think that this years tennis will be better than last years.

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Wow, Federer has just lost the game! This has just got to be one of the best tennis matches i have ever seen!

And it is a good sign for tennis this year and i cant wait for the next grand slams tournament which i think will be the French Open next.

The competition this year looks very tight and that anyone could be the champion!

Edited by brodeurfanatic

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WAY... TO... BE... SAF!!!!!!

Very very impressive. No one's been able to even touch this guy in the tourney.

Is Safin's mental game finally catching up to his physical game? I hope so!!

I bet Roger does too, because no one has been even challenging him.

What a great day of tennis was yesterday. Out-standing.

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That match was :hail::hail::hail:!!!!!

I got to give Safin a lot of credit. He did it the hard way. Losing sets one and three and having to comeback. He really played lights out. I got a sense when he cameback in that tiebreak from 5-2 down with Roger serving that he was going to win. His problem has always been concentration. But when he's on like that, he's as good as anyone. The way he smacks the ball from the baseline is great to watch. He can come up with unreal shots from that backhand side. I think you saw that tonight. And that serve was so similar to Becker's. He uses his legs and is lanky like Boris and Boom Boom was my all-time favorite player (even more than Andre).

Safin also is very athletic for a big guy. He can pick up a lot of balls and is solid around the net. He's like a big cat. Becker had that. It's too bad Safin doesn't come to the net more. He certainly could. Not that his baseline game needs any fixing. He really goes for his shots.

One other thing about this match. Every set was so tense. There was no margin for error for both players. And they both showed so much heart. Safin not giving in the fourth and fifth when Roger put pressure on his serve. And Roger when Safin had all those match points. He saved six before Safin hit that perfect laser backhand down the line that knocked Federer down, setting up an easy forehand putaway for the victory.

I really felt that Safin was more fit and that was also a factor. Plus Safin is used to playing more five setters and has had success. Roger is so used to finishing guys off in straights or four sets. You could see he was weary. When he was down 5-2, he showed the heart of a champion though and wouldn't go down without a fight. That's what you want to see.

It made for compelling tennis.

Marat outlasted Andre in a five set thriller last year. This was similar but even better.

I think the way he played can help Agassi, Roddick and Hewitt in how to deal with Federer. Safin didn't alter his gameplan. But also, he has that big serve and powerful groundstrokes. So, that helped.

Anyway, this is his third chance to win an Australian Open title. He was denied twice before by Thomas Johansson (match he should have won) and last year by a dominant Federer.

Maybe the third time is the charm for the lanky charasmatic Russian. He looks to have gotten it together under Federer's old coach. If he does win, it would be a great story and excellent for the men's game.

Oh, and in my mind, watching this match, those were the two best players. Throw the rankings out the window. Neither Roddick nor Hewitt has ever pushed Federer like that. Andy came close at Wimbledon but lost in four sets.

Speaking of those two, I hope their match is another classic late tonight.

And then there's this. Everyone always talks about the other sports but for my money, there's nothing better than a classic tennis match. Two players slugging it out and putting everything on the line without any help from coaches or teammates. Just their mental focus and will power to pull out a tough match. Marat Safin accomplished that today against the best player in the world, Roger Federer. And it was thrilling. Imagine going 4+ hours on one court without any halftimes or intermissions. That's what these players do.

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to bad Agassi couldnt have done that against Federer :( ......He was always my favorite.......But the match was incredible....the 5th set tie-break had jus started right before i was leaving for school so i stayed and watched....i was 30 minutes late for school :) ....but now i guess its Go Roddick!!!!!!!!!!!

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There's no tiebreak in the final set ;). Unless you were thinking of the fourth set one. Safin won the final set 9-7.

I kind of wish the U.S. Open would change their format for final sets to no tiebreak as well.

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I used to tape the old Becker-Edberg matches at Wimbledon. Wish i knew where they were cause I'd watch.

I kind of wish I had taped a couple of these Aussie matches cause they've been terrific.

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Here's a recap of the best match thus far, although Hewitt fans and Serena and Sharapova supporters would argue.

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/r...6833479773.html

Seventh Heaven for Safin

Thursday, 27 January, 2005

by Damian Glass

Marat Safin has taken seven match points - and saved one in the fourth set - to send world No.1 Roger Federer out of the Centenary Australian Open with a remarkable win in an epic five-set semi-final, winning 5-7 6-4 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 9-7.

The Russian No.4 seed came back from two-sets-to-one down to upset the hot tournament favourite on Rod Laver Arena, becoming the first man through to Sunday night's men's final.

It was the first time Federer had lost to a top 10 player since October 2003 and the first time he had lost a match since the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

The defending Australian Open champion looked to be through to the final when he led the fourth set tie-break 5-2. Remarkably, Safin fought back to level the tie-break 5-5 but the Swiss then brought up his only match point with a delicate drop shot.

Federer was desperately close to winning the match after a superb drop volley but Safin somehow chased the ball down. He lobbed Federer but the Swiss ran back, only for his between-the-legs return to go into the net.

From that point, Safin won the next two points to win the tie-break and send the match into a deciding fifth set.

Before this semi-final, Federer had won only one of six five-set matches on Rod Laver Arena while Safin had never lost a five-set match at the venue.

The Russian began the fifth set looking as if he was going to keep his winning record on Rod Laver Arena in tact and, in the fifth game, he broke Federer to take a 3-2 lead.

Games then went with serve until Safin served for the match for the first time at 5-3 but Federer saved two match points to break back.

At 4-5, Federer saved another match point on his own serve. Trailing 6-7, the Swiss maestro saved two more, displaying the hallmarks of a true champion.

Just when it looked like Safin was going to rue not having taken advantage of five match points, he held serve to take an 8-7 lead and then, in Federer's next service game, the Russian brought up another two match points at 15-40.

Stunningly, Federer served an ace to save the sixth match point but on the seventh match point for Safin, the Russian's return forced Federer out of court allowing the two-time runner-up at Melbourne Park to dispatch a forehand into the open court to finally take the match and move into another final at Melbourne Park.

Earlier, Safin had begun the match knowing his serve was going to have to stand up for him to have any chance of winning and in the first set it did, serving at 73% at an average speed of 212km/hour. The problem for the Russian was that Federer is as good as anyone at returning serve. However, at the end of the set, it wasn't Safin's serve that let him down.

Trailing 5-6 and serving to stay in the set, Safin made six unforced errors in the game to hand the set to Federer 7-5.

Despite losing the opening set, Safin was forcing Federer to play the sort of tennis that had gone unsighted in the tournament so far. Unlike others before him who had no answers to Federer's serve and superior baseline game, Safin's philosophy was producing some uncharacteristic errors from the Swiss.

Safin's tactics drew mistakes from Federer who, unusually, was not in control of a match. In the first set Safin made five more unforced errors than Federer but in the second, Federer made 14 to Safin's five.

It came as no surprise when Safin broke Federer's serve to lead 2-1 early in the second set. In particular, Safin attacked Federer's backhand with success as he continued to thwart the Swiss from the back of the court.

Federer had a chance to get back into the set holding a break point at 3-4 but Safin served his way out of trouble and went on to win the set 6-4 and level the match at one set apiece.

In the important third set, Federer surrended a 2-0 lead and was two break points down at 4-4. But, as was the case in the first set, Safin could not hold his serve at 5-6 and lost it 5-7.

At the start of the fourth set, it was going to take a Herculean effort from Safin to break his hoodoo against Federer, who had previously won six of the seven matches between the two players.

Little did Safin know of the drama that lay ahead - that he was about to play one of the greatest semi-finals on Rod Laver Arena (and perhaps the match of his life) to finally defeat Federer again.

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http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/a...6839006716.html

Defeats Give Safin Extra Incentive

by Damian Glass

Thursday, 27 January, 2005

Marat Safin believes his dramatic four-and-a-half-hour semi-final victory over world No.1 Roger Federer to reach this year's Australian Open men's final is more satisfying than his victory over four-time champion Andre Agassi in last year's semis.

Just as he took five grueling sets to defeat Agassi 12 months ago on Rod Laver Arena, Safin advanced to this year's final after a marathon session on court.

Safin finally clinched a berth in the final after winning the deciding fifth set 9-7 and, without undermining the value of a victory over Agassi, he says the victory over Federer is even more sweeter.

"It's just more - for me it's more valuable - without taking any credit, of course, from Andre," Safin said.

"But this - I have to say is a little bit of a different story, because last year I was coming from a long time being injured, and for me any win would be - it was a surprise, especially beating Agassi of course in five sets."

"But here I'm playing against the No.1 in the world, that he lost only six matches last year. And you're playing against him in the semi-finals and he didn't lose a match till this year. So it's a little bit - it's a little bit - it's a different story. I think this one is more valuable for me."

Safin will enter Sunday night's final having already played in two losing finals - last year to Federer and in 2002 to Thomas Johansson.

Assessing his chances of winning the Australian Open for the first time and what he will need to do differently to be successful, Safin believes learning from his past experiences will be a key for him.

"They were little bit different finals. After I made the first final, I was really nervous because I didn't have so much experience. Like I was a little bit - was a little bit - how you say - didn't expect being in a final, especially against Johansson."

"Supposedly I was the favourite to win this title and I couldn't deal with the pressure at all. So it was a bit too difficult for me."

"Last year, I just ran out of gas, and I couldn't believe either that I'm going to win this time. But now it's a little bit different story. I had two bad experiences in the final, so

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