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Last Updated: Friday, 28 May, 2004, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Safin survives scare
Marat Safin
Marat Safin came through a marathon struggle with Felix Mantilla to reach the third round of the French Open.

The Russian 20th seed prevailed 6-4 2-6 6-2 6-7 11-9 in an epic match that had to be held over from Thursday in Paris.

Safin twice led in sets, but on both occasions he was pegged back by plucky Spaniard Mantilla, who saved a fourth-set tie-breaker to force a decider.

The crucial break came at 10-9, when Safin finally broke Mantilla's resolve to set up a clash with Potito Starace.

After the match, Safin was scathing of officials after being penalised a point for dropping his shorts during the third set on Thursday evening.

"It just happened. I felt it was a great point for me and I felt like pulling my pants down," said the 24-year-old, who could also be fined for the incident.

"Nobody complained. I thought it was entertaining and I was trying to make the game fun.

"There are officials who are trying to destroy the sport. It's going down the drain. It's a pity that we have these people running tennis."

In third round action, second seed Guillermo Coria raced into the fourth round, dropping just six games against unseeded Croatian Mario Ancic.

The Argentine clay-court specialist now meets Nicolas Escude in the last 16 after the Frenchman saw off Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2 7-5 6-7 6-2.

Fifth seed Carlos Moya was also a comfortable winner, brushing aside the challenge of Dutchman Ramon Sluiter.

The Spaniard came through 6-0 6-3 6-4 to earn a fourth-round meeting with compatriot Tommy Robredo.

The 17th seeded Robredo had earlier routed 11th seed Nicolas Massu 6-2 6-0 6-2.

Juan Ignacio Chela progressed with a hard-fought win over former finalist Alex Corretja.

Chela, the 22nd seed, won 6-4 6-4 4-6 6-3 to set up a clash against either Fabrice Santoro or Olivier Mutis.

France's Michael Llodra enjoyed a more comfortable passage into the last 16 as he eased past compatriot Julien Jeanpierre in straight sets.

Llodra won 6-2 6-2 6-3 and will now play Britain's Tim Henman, who beat him in the second round at Wimbledon in 2003.



WATCH AND LISTEN
Marat Safin
"I felt like pulling my pants down"



SEE ALSO
20 Marat Safin
19 May 04  |  Tennis
22 Juan Ignacio Chela
19 May 04  |  Tennis



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