Hewitt, Safin to contest for Aus Open title

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/L/Lleytonhewitt.jpg' class='caption'> Lleyton Hewitt finally gets the chance to land the Australian Open title when he faces Marat Safin today.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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Lleyton Hewitt finally gets the chance to land the Australian Open title when he faces Marat Safin today. Winning the Wimbledon title in 2002 was the last time the young Australian picked up a grand slam title to add to the US Open title he had won in 2001. Historic chance In fact, it was the last time that Hewitt made the final of a grand slam tournament. On Sunday though Hewitt will look to become the first Australian since Mark Edmondson in 1976 to lift the Australian Open. But the 23-year-old isn't being bogged down by the weight of expectations of an entire nation. "I don't think expectations have worried me to much. I got thrown into the spotlight at a very young age and I think I've been able to handle it pretty well. I've played enough big matches in Davis Cup ties for your country and matches don't come much bigger than that. I think my Davis Cup record speaks for itself," said Lleyton Hewitt, 3rd seed, Australian Open. Standing between Hewitt and a small piece of history will be 25-year-old Marat Safin. The Russian overcame World number one and defending champion Roger Federer in a marathon five setter in the semi-final. Till date, Safin has only won one grand slam title – the US Open in 2000 and the man nicknamed "Big Red" will be hoping that lady luck finally shines on him. Twice in the last three years he has lost in the final of the Australian Open. Keen contest The pair have played each other a total of 10 times on the circuit with each player having won 5 times each. The last two encounters between the two have also been split with Safin winning at the Paris Open after Hewitt triumphed in Cincinnati. Sunday's final will be the first time that two will come face to face in a grand slam event. Hewitt has been dreaming of winning an Australian title ever since he made his debut in the tournament in 1997 as the youngest qualifier ever at 15 years and 11 months. And the way he demolished 2nd seed Andy Roddick in the semi-final in four sets, few will bet against him.

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