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Serving for the win in game nine, Marat squandered two match points and Roger broke back to prolong this extraordinary match, giving the crowd more memorable moments.Federer had to save another match point on own serve in game 10 and an additional two in game 14, simply refusing to surrender.Safin held with ease to gain an 8-7 advantage, forcing Roger to serve to stay in the match once again, and this time he found the way to break the Swiss and seal the deal.Roger saved the sixth match point with an ace but he fell down on the seventh, stumbling while chasing one ball and allowing Marat to grab the last point of the match with a forehand winner.Returners had their chances in the closing games of the set and it was Roger who took charge, breaking in game 12 after a huge forehand error from Marat to take the set 7-5 and move closer to the place in the final.The 4th set produced some tremendous hitting and no break points, heading towards the tie break that was a must-win one for Marat.
Roger held after two deuces in game 11 and he clinched the opener with a break in the following game when Safin sent a backhand long.
Roger had to deal not only with inspired Safin but also with the elbow and back pain (also with blisters), coming back from 5-2 down in the fifth set before he fell down when Marat broke him in the last game of the match, converting his 7th match point.
It was the shotmaking of the finest order on both sides and the encounter is widely recognized as one of the best of the 21st century.
On this day 13 years ago, the eyes of the entire tennis world were set upon Rod Laver Arena and the semi-final encounter between the last year's finalists Roger Federer and Marat Safin.
Swiss won his first Australian Open crown over Marat in 2004 and this time it was the Russian's turn to deliver his revenge, ousting world number 1 5-7 6-4 5-7 7-6 9-7 in 4 hours and 28 minutes of breathtaking tennis that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats from start to finish.
Marat saved it with a nice lob and he closed the breaker by 8-6 to send the match into a decider after 3 hours and 8 minutes.