Safin Inches Closer, Bryan
Brothers Cruise into Quarterfinals
Marat Safin - RUS
Los Angeles - Marat Safin
advanced to the quarterfinals of the Countrywide Classic
Wednesday with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Switzerland's George
Bastl at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA. In doubles, No.
1 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan began their quest at a fourth title
with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Travis Parrott and Tripp Phillips.
The No. 3 seeded Safin got past the
second round for the first time in four attempts and is inching
closer to a possible semifinal showdown with No. 2 seed James
Blake. After Safin made the first move in the third set,
breaking Bastl to go up 4-3, the Russian found himself down
three break points in the very next game. Safin fought back and
clinched the game, sending a 130mph serve up the middle for the
ace, and the 5-3 lead. Safin would then serve out the match,
winning on a forehand hit long by Bastl. Next up for the
world's former No. 1 will be Korea's Hyung-Taik Lee. Lee got the
win over South African Wesley Moodie when back problems caused
him to retire at 6-2, 3-0.
Also making it to the quarterfinals was Germany's Nicolas
Kiefer, who breezed past the Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-3, 6-2 .
Kiefer will square off against fellow countryman Michael Berrer,
who advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win over the Brazilian qualifier
Mike and Bob Bryan - USA
Making their first appearance in Los
Angeles since winning here last year, the Bryans continued where
they left off, though not without a first-set scare. Down 4-5,
the Bryans jumped out to a quick 00-30 lead before Bob Bryan
took over, crushing a backhand down the line for a winner and
following it up with a cross court forehand winner to get the
break back 5-5.
In the second set, the Bryans made quick work of
Parrot/Phillips, capitalizing on a Hawkeye call that went their
way eventually giving them the break to go up for good at 3-1.
"We love coming back here to L.A.," Mike Bryan said. "We feel
like it is our home court."
This match was the first in 25 years that the Bryans played
without their usual Wilson racquets. The tandem recently made
the switch to Prince 03 Speedport Black. Next up for the twins
Amer Delic and Igor Kunitsyn.
Matt Osias can be reached at