It took eight hours to produce just two quarterfinalists Monday at Roland Garros. Third seeded Magnus Norman from Germany and 12th seeded Marat Safin from Russia, shivering in the 55-degree chill and dreary drizzle, commenced a match that was postponed yesterday, due to the heavy rain.
Andrei Medvedev sank in a sopping heap 6-0, 6-4, 6-2 against the German, while the Russian destroyed the last Frenchman, Cedric Pioline, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Twenty-year-old Safin has been turning in some sensational clay court performances with titles in Barcelona and Mallorca and he came within two points of beating Gustavo Kuerten in the Hamburg Masters Series final last month.
"He's like me, he's playing his best tennis for the moment. He's red hot," Norman told the AP, who lost to Safin recently on clay in Barcelona. "If I can get through that one, I think I have a good chance to make the finals."
On the way to the Barcelona title, he beat the man who now bars his route to the semis, Magnus Norman, the unassuming Swede who leads the ATP Champions Race.
If he can keep at arm's length the red mist which descended on him so often last year when he smashed 48 rackets, Safin can upset the man who would be seen as the world number one - (Several Sources)
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