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Tsar Safin sends Djokovic packing

Latest update : 2008-06-25

While Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Amelie Mauresmo are safely through to the third round, Novak Djokovic suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of a resuscitated Marat Safin. Meanwhile, Ana Ivanovic squeezed past France's Nathalie Dechy.

Former world number one Marat Safin sent third seed Novak Djokovic crashing out of Wimbledon on Wednesday while Serbian compatriot Ana Ivanovic narrowly escaped the same All England Club black hole.
  
Safin, a US Open and Australian Open champion during his glory days before a slump sent his career into freefall, stunned the 21-year-old world number three 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 with a magical Centre Court display.
  
On Court One, women's top seed Ivanovic, buoyed by her French Open triumph, had to save two match points in extraordinary circumstances to see off France's experienced lost 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/3), 10-8.
  
There were no such dramas for five-time men's champion Roger Federer who eased into the last 32 with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) win over Robin Soderling.
  
It was the world number one's seventh win in seven meetings with the 23-year-old Swede and the comfortable manner of his victory would have been aided by having seen dangerman Djokovic removed from his side of the draw.
  
"I'm very happy with the win," said Federer who was watched from the players' box by American pop star Gwen Stefani and will next meet France's Marc Gicquel for a place in the fourth round.
  
"The conditions were difficult, the sun was low so it was hard to see the ball in the last few points. So I was pleased to get through without playing a fourth set."
  
Reigning Australian Open Djokovic, who had reached the third round at least in his last nine Grand Slam appearances, and was runner-up to Rafael Nadal at Queen's two weeks ago, sent down 10 double faults and 28 unforced errors.
  
"It was a very bad day. I didn't do anything I was supposed to do. I made too many mistakes and had no momentum," said the 21-year-old Djokovic, a semi-finalist last year.
  
"Marat was one of my idols when I was a junior. I have a lot of respect for him and maybe that played a role today."
  
Safin, struggling at 75 in the world, said the win came at the right time for him.
  
"I've been lacking confidence but to beat Djokovic on Centre Court is a great victory," said Safin who has endured a miserable 2008, only twice winning back-to-back matches before Wimbledon.
  
Safin goes on to face Italian 29th seed Andreas Seppi for a place in the last 16.
  
Djokovic was almost joined on the scrapheap by world number one Ivanovic who saw off 29-year-old Dechy in a three-and-a-half-hour thriller and will now face China's Zheng Jie for a place in the fourth round.
  
Ivanovic admitted that she was fortunate to escape after a lucky netcord on the second match point in the 10th game of the second set saw the ball flop onto Dechy's side of the net.
  
"She played very well. When I saw the ball roll over the net on the second match point, I thought that was my second chance," said Ivanovic.
  
"My heart missed a beat when it went on the other side."
  
Dechy, playing in her 13th successive Wimbledon, admitted that she wept for an hour after the match.
  
"Maybe she can play the lottery today, it will be her lucky day," said the 29-year-old Frenchwoman.
  
Former double champion Serena Williams moved on with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Polish teenager Urszula Radwanska and will next face 2006 champion Amelie Mauresmo of France.
  
Australia's 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt saw off Spain's Albert Montanes 7-6 (7/4), 6-0, 6-2 and will face Italy's Simone Bolelli who put out Chilean 15th seed Fernando Gonzalez 7-6 (10/8), 7-6 (9/7), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4).

Spanish fifth seed David Ferrer, the winner of the grasscourt warm-up in 's-Hertogenbosch last weekend, defeated Russia's Igor Andreev 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
  
He goes on to face Croatia's Mario Ancic, the last man to beat Federer at Wimbledon in 2002.

Date created : 2008-06-25

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