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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
Ruthless Federer dismisses Safin
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Roger Federer
Federer faces Tommy Haas in round four
Defending champion Roger Federer was in immaculate form as he powered past Marat Safin 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7-4).

The much-anticipated third-round match did not begin until gone 1830 BST on Friday but Federer took just one hour and 39 minutes to see off the Russian.

Safin, on his least favourite surface, was outclassed in the first two sets but stretched the world number one in an absorbing third.

However, Federer edged the tie-break to make it 51 straight wins on grass.

But it was not without a battle as he fought off a rejuvanated Safin fightback in the third to seal victory.

Having cruised through the first set, Federer hit back immediately from an early break in the second to move two sets up thanks to some fierce serves and perfect groundstrokes.

I don't know if I played phenomenal. I just played the right way.

Roger Federer

However, Safin found his touch in the third set and only some remarkable defensive tennis from the Swiss prevented the Russian taking the match into a fourth set.

And, with the gloom falling on Centre Court, Federer showed all his grass-court know-how and Centre Court experience to see out the tie-break and set up a last-16 match against German Tommy Haas.

Federer said he felt his gameplan had worked to perfection against the big-hitting but unpredictable Safin.

"I knew the danger against Marat," said Federer, who has twice lost to the Russian in the past.

I don't see anybody who can hurt him. No one has enough weapons to beat him on grass

Safin on Federer

"I don't know if I played phenomenal. I just played the right way. I kept the ball in play, served well when I had to and neutralised him from the baseline.

"I expected him to serve well in one of the three sets and he did in the third but by then it was too late and obviously I played a great tie-break."

Safin said he could not see Federer being beaten at this year's Wimbledon.

"I don't see anybody who can hurt him. No-one has enough weapons to beat him on grass," said the Russian.

Of his defeat, he added: "It was my first time on Centre Court for many years and it was strange for me.

"It took me two sets to get used to it. I'm not taking anything away from Roger but it was tough to play my game."

SEE ALSO
Federer-Safin as it happened
29 Jun 07 |  Tennis
Borg on Federer
24 Jun 07 |  Tennis
Roger Federer's tactics
12 Sep 06 |  Skills


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