Safin eliminated at Wimbledon

Marat Safin's newfound confidence on grass faded fast today.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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London:Marat Safin's newfound confidence on grass faded fast today. The big Russian came up short in his bid for a second Grand Slam title this year, losing to Spain's Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in the third round at Wimbledon. Safin, who threatened to stop trying at Wimbledon after losing in the first round last year, entered this year's tournament upbeat and easily won his first two matches. But he was outserved by Lopez and quickly became so frustrated he launched a ball onto the Court 1 roof in anger, prompting a warning from the chair umpire. "I just couldn't really find my game," said Safin, the Australian Open champion. "He's a tough player. What do you want me to do? I can't play my best tennis every day. I didn't really play bad." Aces galore Lopez, a left-hander seeded 26th, never lost serve and closed the victory with his 14th ace. Third-seeded Lleyton Hewitt had American Justin Gimelstob diving all over the Centre Court lawn in vain pursuit of shots and won 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5. Hewitt, the 2002 champion, will next play another American, No. 24 Taylor Dent, who beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3. In women's play, US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was pushed to three sets for the second straight match but beat 16-year-old Nicole Vaidisova 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2. Kuznetsova's next opponent will be unseeded Magdalena Maleeva, who reached the fourth round in the tournament for the fourth time in five years by defeating Antonella Serra Zanetti 6-3, 6-2. Mauresmo advances Two-time Wimbledon semifinalist Amelie Mauresmo, seeded third, eliminated American Shenay Perry 6-0, 6-2. Mauresmo has lost just 11 games in three matches. "I really am enjoying to play on this surface," Mauresmo said. "So we'll see where it takes me." No. 9 Anastasia Myskina rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the third set to beat No. 17 Jelena Jankovic 6-0, 5-7, 10-8. Myskina converted only nine of 33 break-point chances but won in two hours, 43 minutes. She'll next play Russian compatriot Elena Dementieva, a two-time Grand Slam runner-up, who beat American Mashona Washington 7-5, 6-1. Play began on a fifth consecutive warm, sunny day, but late-afternoon showers prompted the tournament's first rain delay. Lopez upbeat The Court 1 crowd watching Lopez's victory included his doubles partner, French Open champion Rafael Nadal. While Nadal lost in the second round, Lopez advanced to the round of 16 for the third time in four tries. "My game is a little bit different than the other Spanish players, no?" Lopez said. "I go more to the net. I try to come in. I like to play also on clay, but for sure my game for grass I think is better." No. 5-seeded Safin exchanged chuckles with Lopez over an early overrule by the umpire, but the mercurial Russian's mood soured as he fell behind. He whacked a ball in anger when he failed to convert two break points, allowing Lopez to hold for a 5-3 lead in the first set, and he muttered, shook his head and slumped his big shoulders as the match slipped away. (AP)

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