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Safin family surges through Open field

THE Safin siblings surged through the Australian Open draw today, women's third seed Dinara and men's former world number one Marat slipping into round three.

Safina, chasing her first grand slam title, beat fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-7 6-3 6-0 while former Australian and US Open champion Safin crushed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5 6-2 6-2.

"I'm just trying to find my game. I'm trying to be aggressive," Safina said, explaining the erratic nature of some of her shots, before admitting that she was enjoying her status as a leading seed.

"Now when I practice there is more people standing watching me... I get a better court, I'm not anymore just Marat's sister," she grinned.

Her brother thundered through to a third round match-up with second seed Roger Federer, who set up the mouth-watering showdown with a 6-2 6-3 6-1 victory over Russia's Evgeny Korolev.

Twice runner-up here and champion in 2005, Safin is eagerly anticipating his clash with the 13-times grand slam champion.

"I'm looking forward. I have nothing to worry about. I'm going to play my match," he said.

"We know each other pretty well. He knows how to play against me; I know how to play against him.


"Unfortunately I didn't win a lot of matches against him, but I'm looking forward. It's another chance. I have nothing to lose. I'm going to go for it. Whatever comes, comes."

The Russian siblings were joined in the winners' circle by the Serb trio of Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and defending men's champion Novak Djokovic.

Women's top seed Jankovic beat Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 7-5 and fifth-seeded Ivanovic beat Alberta Brianti 6-3 6-2.

"She's not an easy opponent. She can be very dangerous," Ivanovic said of her performance against Brianti.

"There is still some areas I have to work on and improve.

"As you progress through the tournament you come up against tougher opponents, so you automatically raise your level.

"I think I still have to work a little bit on my serve. It was much better today, but it's still something I need to improve.

"I know there is still lots of room for improvement. So that gives me confidence," added the 21-year-old, a beaten finalist at Melbourne Park last year.

Djokovic eased into the third round with a 7-5 6-1 6-3 win over France's Jeremy Chardy.

The 21-year-old world number three struggled initially against Chardy in an even first set, breaking just once in the 12th game, before he romped away with the second and third.

In the night session, Melbourne Park will become a seething mass of green and gold with local fans keen to provide a wave of raucous support for two of their own playing under floodlights on Rod Laver Arena.

Jelena Dokic, the on-again, off-again, on-again Australian, who has had well-publicised battles with her tempestuous father Damir, faces Russian 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze.

The 25-year-old Dokic won her first Melbourne Park match in a decade when she beat Austria's Tamira Paszek on Monday.

Sixteen-year-old Bernard Tomic, tipped to succeed Lleyton Hewitt as Australia's next number one, will be making his centre court debut in the main draw of a grand slam against Luxembourg's Gilles Muller.


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