Wimbledon, June 24:
Marat Safinâ€™s newfound confidence on grass failed to help him on Friday, and he lost to Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 in the third round at Wimbledon. The No 5-seeded Safin, who threatened to stop trying at Wimbledon after losing in the first round last year, entered this yearâ€™s tournament with an upbeat attitude and easily won his first two matches. But he was out-served by Lopez and quickly became so frustrated that he launched a ball onto the Court 1 roof in anger, prompting a warning from the chair umpire. Lopez, a left-handed Spaniard seeded 26th, never lost serve and closed out the victory with his 14th ace. No 3-seeded Lleyton Hewitt had American Justin Gimelstob diving all over the Centre Court lawn in vain pursuit of shots and won 7-6, 6-4, 7-5. Hewitt, the 2002 champion, will next play another American, No 24 Taylor Dent, who beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. In womenâ€™s play, US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was pushed to three sets for the second straight match but beat 16-year-old Nicole Vaidisova 7-5, 6-7, 6-2.
Kuznetsovaâ€™s next opponent will be unseeded Magdalena Maleeva, who reached the fourth round in the tournament for the fourth time in five years by defeating Antonella Serra Zanetti 6-3, 6-2. Two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Amelie Mauresmo, seeded third, eliminated American Shenay Perry 6-0, 6-2. Mauresmo has lost just 11 games in three matches. No 6-seeded Elena Dementieva, a two-time Grand Slam runner-up, beat American Mashona Washington 7-5, 6-1. Safin exchanged chuckles with Lopez over an early overrule by the umpire, but the mercurial Russianâ€™s mood soured as he fell behind. He whacked a ball in anger when he failed to convert two break points, allowing Lopez to hold for a 5-3 lead in the first set, and he muttered, shook his head and slumped his big shoulders as the match slipped away. Safin lost serve only twice but went 0-for-4 on break-point chances against Lopez.