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By Chris Oddo



Each day during the Australian Open we will take a trip in our tennis time machine to relive historical moments in the tournament's history. Today we will look at a classic semifinal between Marat Safin and Andre Agassi in 2004. (So far, we've revisited: 1. John McEnroe's infamous AO banishment; 2. the "Serena Slam" 3. Federer and Tipsarevic's classic '08 clash, and 4. Mary Pierce's triumph in 1995.)

(January 17, 2013) -- Andre Agassi hadn't lost in Melbourne since 1999. He had teamed up with his now famous trainer Gil Reyes to become the master of the Australian summer, winning three straight titles (he skipped 2002) in 2000, 2001 and 2003, but when he ran up against Marat Safin in the semifinals in 2004, Agassi was facing a man about to make his own claims to greatness in Melbourne. Safin had already taken out two other Americans in five sets (Todd Martin in the 3rd round and top-seeded Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals), so when a stubborn Agassi fought back from a two-set deficit after losing two tough tiebreakers to force a decider, Safin knew just what to do.

Safin notched a crucial service break to lead 3-1 in the fifth set and never looked back as he clinched the 7-6(6), 7-6(6), 5-7, 1-6, 6-3 victory. Even though the enigmatic, crowd-pleasing Russian failed to win the final against Roger Federer that year, the experience proved to be the stepping stone he needed to claim his second and final Grand Slam title the very next year in Australia.

 

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