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Safin breezes past Hrbaty at Oz Open

Safin was far too good for the 20th seed Slovakian as he stormed to an easy straight sets win on Tuesday.
PTI | By Robert Smith (AFP), Melbourne
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2005 12:23 PM IST

Russian Marat Safin overpowered Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty to set up the exciting prospect of a semi-final against either Roger Federer or Andre Agassi at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Last year's runner-up was far too good for the 20th seed storming to an easier than expected straight sets victory, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in just 1 hour 30 minutes, in a match played under a closed roof amid sweltering temperatures in Melbourne.

Top seed and defending champion Federer and four-time winner Agassi play the day's other men's quarter-final later on Tuesday.

Safin, two days ahead of his 25th birthday, had too much raw power for out-gunned Hrbaty in what was his easiest win over the Slovakian in 13 meetings. He has now edged ahead 7-6 in career head-to-head.

It was Safin's first semi-final appearance since last year's Australian Open after first-round exits at last year's Wimbledon and US Opens and third round demise at Roland Garros.

He has now made six grand slam semi-finals for a win in the 2000 US Open and final appearances here last year and 2002.

Safin has been working with Federer's former coach Peter Lundgren since last May with the Swiss ace linking up with Australian Tony Roche this month after last year without a coach.

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