Safina needs to 'grow up' to face top women

Updated: January 19, 2005, 6:14 PM ET
Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Dinara Safina put a scare into second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo, but she didn't impress her older brother, former No. 1 Marat Safin.

Safina took the first set off Mauresmo in their second-round match, then faded quickly and won only one more game the rest of the way, losing 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.

After advancing to the men's third round a few hours later, Safin had some tough love for his 18-year-old sister.

"She has to make a lot of changes to be able to compete with all these kind of players like Amelie," said Safin, who has a reputation for speaking his mind. "We are talking about top players in the women's tour. And to be able to do that, she needs to have character.

"Of course, she is a little bit young, and I know everything everybody is saying ... she has big future in front of her. ... She has to grow up."

MONFILS LOSES

French teen Gael Monfils won three of the four junior Grand Slam titles last year. He's stepping up to the main draws at the majors this year.

Monfils, 18, lost 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 to Olivier Rochus in the second round Wednesday at the Australian Open.

Monfils beat American Robby Ginepri in four sets in the first round.

FEDERER'S STREAK
Roger Federer matched his longest winning streak -- 23 matches, also accomplished last season -- by beating Japanese qualifier Takao Suzuki 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the Australian Open's second round.

Suzuki threw a bit of a scare into the Swiss star, though, breaking Federer's serve for a 3-2 lead in the first set. Federer broke right back, then again for a 5-3 edge.

Two minutes later, Suzuki's backhand floater went wide and the first set went to Federer.

In the second set, Federer -- with new coach Tony Roche watching from the stands -- broke to take a 5-4 lead with the shot of the match. Suzuki slid a cross-court volley that Federer chased down and returned around -- not over -- the net post for a winner.

"We've been working on that one for two weeks," Federer said, joking.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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