Australian Open 2005
US Open 2000
Although born and bred in Russia, Marat Safin spent some time as a youngster at a tennis camp in Spain, where he learnt to play on clay. Safin had tremendous groundstrokes but often self-destructed when things werenít going his way. Safin burst onto the scene in 1998, when in his first Grand Slam event at the French Open, he beat Andre Agassi and Gustavo Kuerten (both in five sets) before losing in the fourth round in five sets to Cedric Pioline. Safin lost in round one of the 2000 Australian Open to Grant Stafford and was fined for not trying. At the U.S. Open Safin survived a five setter with veteran Gianluca Pozzi before edging out Sebastian Grosjean in a fifth set tie break in the third round. Then he beat Juan Carlos Ferrero, Nicolas Kiefer and Todd Martin to set up a final with Pete Sampras. Sampras was the overwhelming favourite but Safin destroyed him in straight sets in just over an hour and a half to claim his first Grand Slam title. Safin had an indifferent 2001. He made the quarters of Wimbledon (losing to Ivanisevic) and the semis at the US Open (losing to Sampras) but when things werenít going his way he would flail his arms in the air in exasperation and didnít seem to know how to dig his way out of trouble. At the 2002 Australian Open he returned to form beating Sampras in the fourth round, holding his nerve in an epic fourth set tie break. He beat Tommy Haas in five sets in the semis but lost in the final to Thomas Johansson. He admitted afterwards that he was tired from partying the night before. Safin was off the tour for most of 2003 due to injury. The break seemed to do him good, and he came back at the start of 2004 in a more positive frame of mind. At the Australian Open he was back to his best, beating Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi in epic five setters before losing easily to Roger Federer in the final. At the 2005 Australian Open, Safin was in brilliant form in an epic semi final against top seed and defending champion Roger Federer, saving a match point en route to victory. In the final he overcame a bad start to beat Lleyton Hewitt in four sets to clinch his second Grand Slam title. Then Safin struggled to find his form. At Wimbledon 2008 he was back to his best with a brilliant victory over Novak Djokovic. Safin went on to reach the semis before losing to Federer. In 2009 Safin announced that he would retire at the end of the year. His last Grand Slam event was the 2009 U. S. Open, where he lost in the opening round.
© GRAND SLAM TENNIS ARCHIVE
HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: A.Agassi 2-0, N.Djokovic 2-0, R.Federer 1-4, J.C.Ferrero 2-1, L.Hewitt 1-0, G.Ivanisevic 0-1, T.Johansson 1-1, G.Kuerten 2-0, T.Muster 1-0, A.Roddick 1-1, P.Sampras 2-2, S.Wawrinka 1-1
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