Safin and Roddick to meet in Melbourne

Russia’s Marat Safin battled back to overcome Dudi Sela in five sets to set up a mouth-watering third-round clash with American Andy Roddick at the Australian Open.

Russia’s Marat Safin battled back to overcome Dudi Sela in five sets to set up a mouth-watering third-round clash with American Andy Roddick at the Australian Open.

The 26th seed from Russia, the 2005 champion and two-time runner-up in Melbourne, triumphed 6-3 5-7 4-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-0 over the Israeli today.

Safin now faces sixth seed Roddick, who powered into the third round with a straightforward victory over Marc Gicquel.

The 24-year-old, backed by his powerful first serve, was pleased to get a relatively comfortable 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 win over the Frenchman under his belt.

“I’m always a little edgy in the first rounds,” Roddick admitted.

“Today, it felt like there was some good stuff.”

Defending champion Roger Federer felt the success of his serve had contributed significantly in his straight-sets victory over Swedish veteran Jonas Bjorkman.

The number one seed, who comfortably disposed of Bjorn Phau in the first round, eased to a 6-2 6-3 6-2 triumph at the Rod Laver Arena.

“I think I was pretty much in control of the match today,” said the Swiss.

“I was a bit more consistent, especially on the serve. I started well and I felt like, if I got my serve going, it was going to be tough for Jonas.

“I didn’t give him so many chances like I did against Phau – I think it’s a bit of an improvement.”

Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 24th seed, crashed out in the second round after suffering a 7-6 (7/0) 7-5 4-6 6-1 defeat by Thailand’s Danai Udomchoke, who will face Serbian world number 15 Novak Djokovic in round three.

Fourteenth seed Djokovic was a comfortable 6-2 7-5 6-1 winner over Feliciano Lopez.

The 19-year-old Serbian, who won the Adelaide International warm-up event earlier this month, showed his class against Lopez to set up a meeting with Thailand’s Danai Udomchoke, who defeated 24th seed Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6 (7-0) 7-5 4-6 6-1.

Spain’s David Ferrer booked his place in the third round, the 16th seed beating Thomas Johansson 6-2 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 6-2, while 25th seed Mikhail Youzhny and 20th seed Radek Stepanek also secured safe passage to the last 32.

Frenchman Richard Gasquet, the 18th seed, won in straight sets against the USA’s Amer Delic while home favourite Wayne Arthurs was a 6-7 (5/7) 6-1 6-4 6-4 victor over another American, Zack Fleishman.

Slovakian Dominik Hrbaty and American Mardy Fish both progressed in four sets against Vincent Spadea and Nicholas Mahut respectively.

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