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Country Wide Classic July 16 - 22, 2007 - Day 3

By Matt Osias


Safin Inches Closer, Bryan Brothers Cruise into Quarterfinals

Los Angeles – Marat Safin advanced to the quarterfinals of the Countrywide Classic Wednesday with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Switzerland’s George Bastl at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA. In doubles, No. 1 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan began their quest at a fourth title with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Travis Parrott and Tripp Phillips.

The No. 3 seeded Safin got past the second round for the first time in four attempts and is inching closer to a possible semifinal showdown with No. 2 seed James Blake. After Safin made the first move in the third set, breaking Bastl to go up 4-3, the Russian found himself down three break points in the very next game. Safin fought back and clinched the game, sending a 130mph serve up the middle for the ace, and the 5-3 lead. Safin would then serve out the match, winning on a forehand hit long by Bastl. Next up for the world’s former No. 1 will be Korea’s Hyung-Taik Lee. Lee got the win over South African Wesley Moodie when back problems caused him to retire at 6-2, 3-0.

Also making it to the quarterfinals was Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer, who breezed past the Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-3, 6-2 . Kiefer will square off against fellow countryman Michael Berrer, who advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win over the Brazilian qualifier Ricardo Mello.

Marat Safin – RUS

Mike and Bob Bryan – USA

Making their first appearance in Los Angeles since winning here last year, the Bryans continued where they left off, though not without a first-set scare. Down 4-5, the Bryans jumped out to a quick 00-30 lead before Bob Bryan took over, crushing a backhand down the line for a winner and following it up with a cross court forehand winner to get the break back 5-5.

In the second set, the Bryans made quick work of Parrot/Phillips, capitalizing on a Hawkeye call that went their way eventually giving them the break to go up for good at 3-1.

“We love coming back here to L.A.,” Mike Bryan said. “We feel like it is our home court.”

This match was the first in 25 years that the Bryans played without their usual Wilson racquets. The tandem recently made the switch to Prince 03 Speedport Black. Next up for the twins Amer Delic and Igor Kunitsyn.

Matt Osias can be reached at mosias@californiatennis.com


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