Federer downs Russian ace

Federer celebrates after beating the world number two Keystone

Rising Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has completed another impressive victory on the ATP tour, knocking Russian world number two Marat Safin out of the Masters Series tournament in Rome.

This content was published on May 9, 2001 - 16:51

The reigning US Open champion had appeared to be in full control of Wednesday's second round encounter, breaking Federer in the opening game before seizing the first set 6-4.

But with the scores level at 4-4 in the second set, the Russian missed four break points on Federer's serve and was himself broken by the Swiss number one in the very next game.

The deciding set went all the way to a tie-break, with Federer clinching his second match point with an ace. Clearly a young man of steady nerves, the Basel teenager has now won his last ten tie-breaks.

The 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 victory marked Federer's best ever performance at a Masters Series event and is set to bring him even closer to his short-term aim of a place among the seeded top 16 at this month's French Open.

The Swiss was more than pleased with his performance, coming on the back of a tough first round match against Thomas Johansson. "In the middle of the second set I felt my game coming together," he said.

The 21-year-old Safin blamed the loss on a lack of of competition since suffering a back injury in March. Asked if the hard-hitting Swiss teenager presented a threat to him in years to come, the Russian shrugged off the comparison.

"With all respect to Roger we have completely different results," he said. "I have more competitions, more titles, a grand slam. You can't compare us."

In addition to similar power games, both players displayed their fiery tempers, repeatedly slamming their rackets into the clay and firing up the centre court crowd.

"You never know what is going to come from us next," added Federer. "We are both cross on the court. We are very similar."

Federer wasn't the only Swiss player celebrating on Wednesday. In the women's game, Patty Schnyder managed to notch up her second consecutive win over Austria's Barbara Schett.

Having beaten the world number 24 last week en route to the quarter-finals of the WTA event in Hamburg, the Swiss number two repeated the feat on Wednesday, coming from behind to win their second round encounter 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

swissinfo with agencies

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