Federer sinks Safin
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:15
The pair had not met in the event since their semi-final of 2005 – which Safin won on his way to the title.
But there was to be no repeat for Safin as Federer, the champion in 2004, 2006 and 2007, won 6-3 6-2 7-6 (7/5) to extend his run of victories against Safin to 10 in 12 encounters.
Federer, looking for a record equalling 14th grand slam title, drew first blood by taking the opening set in 26 minutes.
The second set had a bit of everything – booming serves from Safin to well-placed passing shots from the Swiss world number two.
Safin outfoxed Federer with some well-executed lobs as well but, much to his frustration, his forehand continued to let him down at crucial times.
The Russian was broken for the first time in the set in the fifth game after three wayward forehands. An ace got him back to 15-40 but Federer sent a shot past him as he approached the net to take a 3-2 lead.
Federer then held his serve before breaking the world number 26 in the seventh game with a superb winner deep into the corner. He then served out the set.
The third set went with serve as the two giants battled it out. The breakthrough finally came in the tie-break when Safin went 3-1 down as his forehand let him down again.
A foot fault call which left Safin 4-1 down resulted in the fired-up Russian having a few words with the official, but he came back to level things at 5-5 before an ace by an ice cool Federer tipped things his way.