Federer Beats Safin in Halle Final
Updated: Sunday, Jun. 12, 2005 - 11:15 AM
By ROY KAMMERER
Associated Press Writer
HALLE, Germany (AP) - Roger Federer beat a racket-slamming Marat Safin 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-4 Sunday to win the Gerry Weber Open for the third year in a row. The top-ranked Swiss captured his 20th straight ATP final and 29th straight match on grass courts.
In defeating the Australian Open champion, Federer recorded his 29th career title. He will be going for his third straight crown at Wimbledon, which starts June 20.
"I'm hoping for something similar this year," Federer said. "I feel great. My 29th title and my 29th win on grass _ that fits perfectly."
Federer and Safin traded early breaks in the first set, the only time the second-seeded Russian would break. Safin, trailing 5-4, lost the set with two forehands that sailed long.
The top-seeded Swiss jumped in exhilaration after winning the two-hour match. Safin repeatedly slammed his racket and screamed at the referee as he wasted several chances to break serve.
"But it was still a great match," Safin said. "I don't know the last time I played such great tennis."
Each time the fifth-ranked Safin had a chance to break serve on the fast court, Federer responded with a hard serve or volley on a center court built to be an exact replica of Wimbledon.
Federer's last loss on grass was in June 2002 against Mario Ancic in the first round at Wimbledon. Bjorn Borg holds the record for consecutive grass-court victories in the Open era with 41. Federer's finals streak started in Vienna in 2003.
Safin has been plagued by an injured left knee for two months and dislikes playing on grass. The two-time Grand Slam winner has never gotten past the second round at Wimbledon.