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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 12:21 GMT
Focused Roddick beats angry Safin
Safin repeatedly clashed with the umpire during his defeat
Safin repeatedly clashed with the umpire during his defeat
Sixth seed Andy Roddick knocked 2005 champion Marat Safin out of the Australian Open in a tight match.

Roddick won 7-6 (7-2) 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2) in a match that lasted more than three hours on a humid Melbourne evening.

The match was a bad-tempered one for the Russian, who clashed with the umpire over line calls and whether the court was playable after a rain delay.

Safin was officially warned at one point, but his American opponent kept his cool to reach the fourth round.

The first set went to a tie-break, but Roddick had no problems closing that out 7-2.

Safin, who had complained about flash photography in the crowd during the first set, became visibly more angry with himself and all around him during the second set, but he still managed to blow his opponent away 6-2.

In fact it seemed Safin was playing better the angrier he got, and he seemed on top in the opening exchanges of the third set. But at 2-2 in that set the Russian slipped on court and took the skin off some of his fingers. The trainer repaired the damage, but it was a crucial moment.

I was so disappointed with the officials. I can't describe how I feel

Marat Safin

A break of serve soon after led to Roddick taking the third set 6-4, and at the change-around ahead of the fourth set it began to rain on a hot, humid night in Melbourne.

The roof on the Rod Laver Arena was swiftly closed, and the court mopped, but when the umpire called "Time" only one of the players was ready to resume, and that was Roddick.

Safin complained that the court was too wet, and was officially cautioned. Later in the same set, he complained to the umpire about a line call and was seen on television to clearly swear.

606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on today's play

Roddick, with coach Jimmy Connors in the stands for the first time since the death of his mother, remained composed, and as the fourth set went to the tie-break there only looked like one winner.

The American, will now face Mario Ancic in the last 16 after the Croatian crushed 22nd seed Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 6-3 6-2 6-1, said the presence of Connors had inspired him.

"For him to go through what he's been through in the last couple of weeks and to hop on a flight and show up this morning and stay up, it's just great," he said.

"I'm real excited that he could make it down here."

Safin was furious with the officials.

"I was so disappointed with the officials. I can't describe how I feel," he said.

"They have been so pathetic on this subject. It was a joke.

"I really am just so disappointed, they are so blind, they don't want to see anything, and I'm going to say it in front of everybody because it's a nonsense for me.

"The guy comes and says to me it's not wet. The guy never played tennis in his entire life.

"He comes with the shoes that aren't even tennis shoes, and he's telling me and I'm professional and I know when it's wet and when it's not wet, and he's telling me it's not wet."



SEE ALSO
Gamewatch: Roddick v Safin
19 Jan 07 |  Tennis
Men's Australian Open draw
18 Jan 07 |  Tennis
Women's Australian Open draw
18 Jan 07 |  Tennis


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