2004 Houston Tennis Masters
Andy Roddick vs Marat Safin
Andy Roddick out-muscled Russia's Marat Safin 7-6 7-6 to win a battle of the heavy hitters and a place in the Masters Cup semi-finals.
The two giants traded thunderous serves and punishing groundstrokes for nearly two hours.
Backed by a boisterous Texas crowd, Roddick took the early initiative by breaking Safin to pull ahead 4-2.
Safin broke back at 5-4 only to let the set slip away, losing the tiebreak 9-7 to the American.
There was little to separate the two men in the second set, Safin wasting chances to level the match when he failed to convert three set points.
When the volatile Russian sent a forehand sailing long to squander the last of his break opportunities, he exploded in a fit of anger, smashing his racket on to the ground and then snapping it across his knee.
The second set again came down to a racket-rattling tiebreak punctuated by six aces.
Roddick, owner of the world's fastest serve, went to his biggest weapon when he needed it most, blasting four of his 15 aces past Safin to take the tie-break 7-4, handing the Russian his fourth loss against 23 wins since the U.S. Open.
"I was just a little unlucky," said Safin after absorbing his third consecutive defeat at the hands of the American. "I've always said tiebreaks are a lottery.
"I had my chances, unfortunately today wasn't my day. But I'm still alive and I have a chance tomorrow against Tim."
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