Matt Osias – July 26th, 2006 – Westwood, CA

 


Fernando Gonzalez


 

 

 

In the first match of the third day of the CountryWide Classic, No. 3 seed Fernando Gonzalez gave the ever-so-dangerous Marat Safin an early exit, winning 6-4, 6-2 on Stadium Court at the Los Angeles Tennis Center in just over an hour.

Both players came out aggressive, holding serve through the first six games of the match, but in the seventh game Gonzalez would make his move, jumping out to a quick 15-40 lead. Safin managed to get the next two points, leveling the game at deuce before finding himself down again with a Gonzalez break point. Safin continued his fight, fending off two straight break point opportunities with 130 mph serves, but ran out of steam, giving Gonzalez the 4-3 advantage.

“Marat is very dangerous,” Gonzalez said. “You never know what to expect. He hits the ball very hard and is really unpredictable.”

After an easy hold by Gonzalez to come within one game of the set, Safin held his serve on a love-game 5-4. Gonzalez would not quit, however, as he claimed the first set confidently.

With Safin serving to start the second set, he quickly found himself down 30-40. But he would get little help from his usually reliable serving, as the power hitter double faulted the first game away 0-1.

Gonzalez continued his solid play, holding serve the rest of the way, wining the set convincingly 6-2 and more importantly advancing to a potential quarterfinal match up against the No. 5 seed Andre Agassi on Friday.

“I would love to be able to play Andre again,” Gonzalez said. “He is always a very tough player.”

Gonzalez’s road to the finals is anything but easy, as his possible semifinal match could be No. 1 seed Andy Roddick.

Safin, who has a knack for losing his temper on the court, broke his racket out of frustration in the second game of the second set. Gonzalez hit a defensive drop shot that Safin managed to run down, but Gonzalez guessed correctly and found the open court for the winner and a 2-0 lead. The outburst was one of many for the fiery Safin, who has found himself in yet another slump.

Safin also won just 28 percent of his second serve opportunities compared to 62 percent for Gonzalez.

“It’s disappointing because I played well yesterday,” Safin said. “I guess it will take time for me to get back from my injuries.”

Matt Osias can be reached at mosias@californiatennis.com

CountryWide Coverage:
Final Results

Emotional Farewell to Agassi
Roddick Advances, Future Uncertain
Gonzalez Takes Down Safin
Sam Querrey, Hewitt, Safin, Fish 


Adam Davis shoots courtside at the CountryWide Classic tennis tournament.


Andre Agassi

 


Bob and Mike Bryan

Wednesday Results

[1]A. Roddick (USA) d R. de Voest (RSA) 6-4, 6-4
[3]F. Gonzalez (CHI) d M. Safin (RUS) 6-4, 6-2
P. Goldstein (USA) d I. Kunitsyn (RUS) 6-4, 6-4
[6]T. Haas (GER) d P. Capdeville (CHI) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
[5]A. Agassi (USA) d [Q]G. Bastl (SUI) 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1

[1] B. Bryan (USA) & M. Bryan (USA) d A. Clement (FRA) & N. Mahut (FRA) 6-1, 6-4
[3] W. Arthurs (AUS) & J. Kerr (AUS) d L. Burgsmuller (GER) & K. Carlsen (DEN) 6-3, 3-6, 12-10
M. Fish (USA) & J. Gimelstob (USA) d G. Muller (LUX) & P. Srichaphan (THA) 6-3, 6-2
I. Kunitsyn (RUS) & D. Tursunov (RUS) d S. Huss (AUS) & X. Malisse (BEL) 6-3, 6-2

 


Andy Roddick 

 

 


 

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