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Safin ready to face the unknown
June 26, 2007 / 4:23 PM / 10 years ago

Safin ready to face the unknown

LONDON (Reuters) - Marat Safin will need to do some homework before he steps out for his second round match at Wimbledon on Wednesday because he knows nothing about his next opponent.

<p>Russia's Marat Safin gestures during his singles match against South Africa's Rik De Voest at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 26, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>

The Russian set up a second round contest with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, who became the first Pakistani player in more than three decades to reach the second round here.

“I don’t even know how he looks unfortunately,” Safin said on Tuesday following his 7-6 6-4 7-5 win over South African qualifier Rik De Voest.

“I guess he’s playing pretty good tennis if he qualified, he won a three-set match today. So I guess tough opponent second round. We’ll see how it’s going to be.”

Provided he can steer past the 279th-ranked qualifier from Lahore, Safin is likely to collide with world number one and four-times champion Roger Federer in the third round.

But having won the last of his 15 titles more than two years ago at the Australian Open in 2005, the Russian seems to have almost given up hope of ending that barren spell soon.

<p>Russia's Marat Safin returns a shot to South Africa's Rik De Voest at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 26, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>

“I have no confidence at the moment,” said the 26th seed.

Asked to elaborate, he added: ”Because I‘m not winning a lot of matches lately, because I’ve been struggling for the past couple of months, more than a couple of months.

<p>Russia's Marat Safin returns a shot to South Africa's Rik De Voest at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 26, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>

”So how can you build up the confidence? The confidence comes with winning matches and playing a lot of semi-finals, finals.

“The last time I played a semi-final was in March, so that’s where my confidence has left me.”

Despite his mental state and his dislike for grass, Safin did not seem to be troubled on Monday.

De Voest was making his grand slam debut but his challenge ended after two hours and 18 minutes when Safin fired his seventh ace.

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