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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Federer crushes Safin
Roger Federer
Federer's power and touch proved too much for Safin
  Photo Gallery: See this story in pictures

Roger Federer secured his first Masters Series title by demolishing Marat Safin in straight sets, 6-1 6-3 6-4.

Safin, who thrashed world number one Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter-finals, was this time on the receiving end as Federer cruised to victory.

The Swiss 11th seed's win earned him $372,000 and second place in the ATP's Champions Race, one point behind Safin.


Roger was the best player out there on court today
Marat Safin

Federer, who went into the match as the slight underdog, has now defeated the Russian former world number one in all of their three meetings.

"I have more experience than him and was probably the favourite but I didn't really play very well as you can see," Safin said.

"I couldn't bring my tennis to the court and he played probably the best game of tennis in his life."

Federer afterwards joked that having lost in the opening round in Rome last week he wondered whether he should even show up in Hamburg.

"I played so badly last week I thought I wouldn't come. But today I played really well, luckily," he said.

"It's not been a great tournament for me on my previous two visits as I lost in the first round.

"But this time I'd say it's a wonderful tournament. It's been an incredible tournament for me this week."

Hitting clean winners down the lines from both sides, the Swiss kept sixth seed Safin lunging in vain throughout the first set which he clinched 6-1 before Safin had even warmed up.

Breaks in the first and fifth games left the Russian trailing the second set 5-1, and he faced two set points as Federer could not miss.

Marat Safin
Safin's frustration led to too many errors

However, the Russian saved both with full-blooded forehands and he broke for the first time in the next game after just over an hour of play.

But the Safin revival was not to last and Federer merely registered another break straight away for a two-set lead.

Safin was powerless against the marauding Swiss who was quicker across the Rothenbaum clay, more accurate and stronger.

Federer held serve to open the third set before breaking again as the 13,000-capacity crowd braced themselves for a short day.

But the enigmatic Russian promptly broke Federer to love and held as he tried to mount a defiant stand in the face of a barrage of winners.

A series of clubbed returns saw him break again and, for the first time in the match, Safin appeared to believe he could launch a challenge.

Federer stood firm, though, and broke back when Safin fired a double-fisted backhand long.

And at 5-4, Safin spooned a forehand long on the second match point he faced and the 20-year-old Federer secured his third career title in a match lasting just over two hours.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Richard Evans
"Safin was swept aside by Federer's stroke play"
Roger Federer
"I think it was the best match of my career"
Marat Safin
"I didn't play well"
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