A highly anticipated match, actually from the beginning of the tournament because they were both in top forms, fresh from their amazing (20/18) tie-break co-created at Masters 2004. Their another tie-break was special too – Federer got two points in it with dropshots even though he hadn’t used that shot before. He led *5:2, then 6:5 and attacked the net on his match point behind the second serve; he played a backhand volley that could have landed out, Safin chased the ball and responded with a lob – Federer decided to play a tweener, but failed, and lost the tie-break 6/8. Before the 5th set, he took a medical time-out and when the set progressed, it was quite clear that his movement was limited. The birthday-boy Safin  seemed on his way to get the set easily, but once he led 5:2* (30/15) strange things began to happen – Federer  avoided a double match point with a winning BH lob from a difficult position, then saved match points in three different games:
– 3:5, Safin missed his BHs on two adv. match points
– 4:5 (30/40), Federer saved third MP with a BH volley (Safin should have won that rally with a FH passing-shot, but played it tentatively)
– 6:7 (15/40), two unreturned serves
The Swiss had his chance too, as he squandered a mini-match point at 6-all sending his cross-court forehand wide. Finally in the 16th game, Federer saved sixth match point with an ace, but on the seventh he stumbled, fell down, and Safin put his last forehand into an open court. The match lasted 4 hours 28 minutes.
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