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Page last updated at 14:12 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 15:12 UK

Safin stuns lacklustre Djokovic

By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon


Safin admitted that he had not expected to beat Djokovic

Russian Marat Safin caused a sensational upset by knocking out world number three Novak Djokovic in the second round at Wimbledon.

The former world number one overpowered Djokovic 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 to leave the Centre Court crowd stunned.

Safin has often expressed his frustration at playing on grass but it was Djokovic who appeared to be rattled by the blustery conditions.

The Serb delivered 10 double faults, the last on match point.

Safin told BBC Sport: "It was a great match and I still feel a bit nervous as I have not won such a match in a long time.

"I had to play really well, concentrate from the beginning and be with him game by game.

Safin has his ups and downs and he's known for his mental instability - but he's still a great player

Novak Djokovic

"I had to take my opportunities as he was under pressure fighting for the world number one spot so he has to win matches. From me no-one expects anything."

Safin later admitted that he already booked himself on a flight to Moscow on Wednesday evening but he must now prepare himself for a third-round match against Italian Andreas Seppi.

"I hadn't looked at the draw because I saw I had Djokovic in the second round, but now I will have to check. The way I am playing right now I can go far but it must be step by step," added the Russian.

Safin's win could also be a boost for world number one Roger Federer, who was seeded to meet Djokovic in the semi-finals.

Australian Open champion Djokovic had been talked about as one of three title contenders, along with Federer and Rafael Nadal.

However, the 21-year-old was completely out of sorts on Wednesday.

I had a bad day at the office - Djokovic

"It was certainly a very bad day for me," he admitted.

"I think being on Centre Court motivated him and he was mentally there today - the opposite of me. I didn't do anything to hurt him, no angles no precision. I was very up and down.

"I'm tired mentally. It's been a long season. He was just better than me. That's it."

Safin, a two-times Grand Slam champion, has seen his ranking slump to 75 through a combination of injuries and inconsistent form but he was at his brutal best on Wednesday.

"The courts have been getting slower and slower at Wimbledon. Now you can play from the baseline without even getting close to the net," said the 28-year-old.

"I had to serve well and stay with him, but he didn't impress me with his game today."

Djokovic had to save three break points in the opening game and that set the tone for a strangely lacklustre display.


The pair swapped breaks before Safin broke again to take a 4-3 lead and the Russian's destructive serve took him to the first set.

Djokovic saved break points in the second set but then crumbled in the tiebreak, allowing Safin the security of a two-set lead.

The Russian broke again to take a 3-0 lead and with his serve proving unplayable, Djokovic never looked capable of a comeback and another tired double fault handed Safin victory after just two hours.

The world number three put the defeat down to "mostly me", but did pay tribute to Safin.

"Safin has his ups and downs and he's known for his mental instability - but he's still a great player.

"I admire the way he plays. He was one of my idols when I was a junior and he was the number one. I used to practice with him. I have a lot of respect for him. Maybe that played a role today."

see also
Djokovic v Safin as it happened
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Serena through to face Mauresmo
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Wimbledon photos
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis

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