At the Australian Open today

Originally Published: January 21, 2004
By Cynthia Faulkner | ESPN.com

In 2000, Marat Safin shockingly became the guy who ended Pete Sampras's streak of winning every final he appeared in at eight. In doing so, Safin was expected to do big things. Instead, he's reached only one major final since. Injuries and loss of focus on court have kept him from doing more.

The last time Safin met Andy Roddick was in 2001 in Los Angeles. Safin won in straight sets, however, Roddick is hardly the same player. Now, the No. 1 player in the world, Roddick has not dropped a set at the Aussie Open and has only lost serve twice.

He made history last year with a marathon match, reaching the semifinals suffering an injury that kept him from advancing. After a breakthrough second half of the year, which saw him win the U.S. Open, Roddick is hoping to win a second consecutive Grand Slam title.

Agassi
Agassi

Potential show stoppers
  • The last man to successfully win two consecutive major titles is Andre Agassi (1999 U.S. Open and 2000 Aussie). The defending champion, Agassi plays Sebastien Grosjean today in a repeat of last year's quarterfinal. Agassi took that match 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. In fact, in their seven meetings, Grosjean has only defeated Agassi once on hard court (and once on clay).

  • Another quarterfinal rematch will happen between Lindsay Davenport and Justine Henin-Hardenne. The two have not met since. At the time, Davenport was struggling to regain her rhythm on the court following a lengthy recovery from knee surgery. This year, she had foot surgery in the offseason, but after defeating Vera Zvonareva in the fourth round said she feels better about her game than last year.

    Since that match last year, Henin-Hardenne won the French Open and U.S. Open and finished the year as the No. 1 player. Known for an incredible backhand, she's worked on improving her forehand, too. So far this season, she's dropped only one set and it wasn't in Melbourne.

  • Amelie Mauresmo has a 5-2 record against Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia. Mauresmo has won their past four matchups.

  • One of the benefits of attending a major tournament in person is that you can watch former greats play some beautiful doubles tennis. Such a match will happen today when John McEnroe teams up with Mark Woodforde against Stan Stolle (yes, Fred's son) and Guillermo Vilas.

    Cynthia Faulkner is the tennis editor for ESPN.com.

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