Melbourne: Another day, another five-set marathon for Marat Safin. The 26th-seeded Russian upheld his reputation for slugfests in his first-round match against newcomer Benjamin Becker, taking almost 3-1/2 hours to beat the German 5-7, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 shortly before 1:00 am local time on Tuesday. Safin is used to the grind. He equaled the record for longest time on court in a Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2004, spending 21 hours and six minutes getting through 30 sets only to be beaten by Roger Federer in the final. In 2005, he churned through another five sets against Federer in the semis and went on to win the title, before struggling through 2006 with a knee injury. Safin was asked at a news conference whether he like the late night matches, and giving fans good value for money with long, hard-fought matches. "Not really, no," he said. "Half of them left after the first two sets, it was quite boring," said Safin, who struggled to find rhythm and appeared visibly frustrated several times, throwing down his racket twice. "We had to stay. I cannot say it was really a beautiful match, but it was a lot of fighting. I guess some people that stayed, they really enjoyed it." The long hours worked in Safin's favor, allowing him to wear down his opponent and to build confidence in what he said started as a "terrible" forehand. "You just have to stay there against this kind of player because sooner or later they are going to snap because they don't have enough experience," he said.
Topics : Tennis