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Philippoussis, net fall before Safin
In what may be a first, the net collapses during the fifth seed's win.
Published June 23, 2005
WIMBLEDON, England - Three tight sets, big-serving Mark Philippoussis and a broken net failed to faze Marat Safin.
The 6-foot-4 Russian waited out a five-minute delay while the Centre Court net was replaced in the second set, then finished off Philippoussis 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 Wednesday to reach the third round at Wimbledon for the second time.
The net collapsed between points in the second set, prompting laughter from the crowd.
"I've been here a long time, since 1977, and I watched on TV as a kid," three-time champion John McEnroe said. "And I've never seen that happen."
Joining Safin in the third round was two-time defending champion Roger Federer, who beat Ivo Minar 6-4, 6-4, 6-1. The top-ranked Federer held every service game and extended his grass-court winning streak to 31 matches, including 16 at the All England Club.
No. 3 Lleyton Hewitt hit 15 aces, giving him 34 in two matches, and beat Jan Hernych 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
Top-ranked woman Lindsay Davenport beat fellow American Jamea Jackson 6-0, 6-3. Kim Clijsters lost just three service points, two on double faults, and drubbed Marissa Irvin 6-1, 6-1. No. 3-seeded Amelie Mauresmo, U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 6 Elena Dementieva and No. 9 Anastasia Myskina also won.
The No. 5-seeded Safin has long professed disdain for lawn tennis, but he's playing the way he did in January when he won the Australian Open and said his attitude about grass has changed.
"I'm comfortable playing on it, and I'm confident," he said. "It's really important to have fun on grass, because it's a tough surface. You have to play a game that's not really comfortable. If you're not having fun, it's impossible to do anything good here. You can't have any patience if you're suffering."
Safin overcame three set points serving at 4-5, love-40 in the opening set. He reached break point only once but converted for a 4-3 lead in the final set, then served out the victory.
"That guy is going to be tough on any surface, whether he likes playing on it or not," Philippoussis said.
Philippoussis, the 2003 runner-up, lost despite hitting 46 unreturned serves, including 21 aces. Safin hit 43 unreturned serves and 20 aces.
Philippoussis, who has been plagued by injuries and needed a wild card to enter the tournament, required treatment from a trainer for a right ankle injury after the first set and appeared gimpy at times the rest of the way.
Rather than blaming the injury, Philippoussis cited his failure to convert any of his five break-point chances and his inability to maintain a lead in each tiebreaker.
"I had the opportunities but didn't take them," he said.
No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko was leading 7-6 (7-4), 2-1, when he retired because of a wrist injury against Jonas Bjorkman.
Americans Justin Gimelstob and Taylor Dent reached the third round to match their best showings at Wimbledon. Gimelstob, who defaulted in qualifying because of a sore back and made the draw only because another player withdrew, beat No. 29 Nicolas Massu 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-0).
"It's a struggle," said Gimelstob, who is ranked 123rd. "Now hopefully with this, maybe I'll get back in the top 100. It'll be probably my third time coming back from oblivion into the top 100."
Gimelstob next will play Hewitt.
Dent, seeded 24th, defeated fellow American Kevin Kim 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Dent next plays unseeded Tomas Berdych and could benefit from a favorable draw.
"Don't jinx me. Don't jinx me," Dent said with a smile. "The problem is that all these guys are so good. There's no good draw in the men's game."
In a first-round match suspended in the fifth set Tuesday because of darkness, No. 9 Sebastien Grosjean beat Michael Llodra 3-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Mauresmo eliminated Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-1, 6-3. Kuznetsova, seeded fifth, beat Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-7 (7-4), 6-4. Dementieva double-faulted 17 times and still beat qualifier Sabine Klaschka 2-6, 6-3, 8-6. Myskina, the 2004 French Open champion, beat Aiko Nakamura 6-4, 6-3 despite failing to convert 12 set points in the opening set.
No. 13 Elena Likhovtseva eliminated American Meghann Shaughnessy 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). No. 17 Jelena Jankovic swept Mariana Diaz-Oliva 6-3, 7-5.