Originally Posted by Sjengster
Safin is a better (and more aggressive) returner, his technique is more solid off both wings, he has a penetrating backhand, he has more compact strokes and plays closer to the baseline (both of which mean he takes away a lot of Federer's time), he has a flatter and therefore more penetrating hit, and judging by their AO match this year he knows when to come into the net at the right moment behind a quality approach shot.
That said, Federer's record against him is still a very favourable one; I don't want to sound dismissive of a guy as talented as Safin, but one win from matchpoint down where his fighting qualities, more than his superb tennis, got him over the line doesn't necessarily prove that he has the ability to beat Federer on a consistent basis. And as regards less fear, the fact that it took him seven matchpoints and two breaks of the Federer serve to finally win that SF match, having blown a 5-2 lead in the decider (plus a number of tight errors on his setpoint chances at the TMC last year), shows that he feels the pressure of facing Federer just as much as Roddick.
maybe. but he still won. having watched it, i think their match at the end of year masters in 2004 gave him the belief that he could compete with federer. further evidence of this is the tough fight he put up against federer at halle this year. i honestly think safin backs himself against anyone when he is in the mood. deep down, roddick would never back himself against federer. there is evidence of that in his interviews everytime he loses to him. in my opinion....