Safin's efforts could help Hewitt or Roddick

Updated: January 27, 2005, 9:15 AM ET
By Patrick McEnroe | Special to ESPN.com

MELBOURNE, Australia -- No. 4 Marat Safin's shocking defeat of Roger Federer 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 9-7 in the semifinals opens things up for No. 2 Andy Roddick and Aussie hope No. 3 Lleyton Hewitt.

Despite facing the overwelming favorite to win the tournament, Safin was not initimidated by Federer at all. Safin is back into the final -- after falling to Federer there last year -- trying to win his first Australian Open title.

Before the tournament began, I would have given Hewitt the favorite head-to-head with Roddick. Because Hewitt has spent so much time on court, physically it will be very tough for him to go the distance against Roddick, who had a routine road to the semifinals.

If Roddick continues to serve as he has -- moving it around the box as well as I've ever seen him -- he'll make Hewitt work too hard on his own service games. Roddick will win a four-set match because Hewitt, despite having the entire crowd behind him, will run out of steam.
Pick: Roddick

The new generation has officially arrived. Men's tennis has never been in better shape with the top four seeds reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Patrick McEnroe, a tennis analyst for ESPN, is a former professional player and the Davis Cup captain.

Patrick McEnroe, who enjoyed success playing tennis on both the collegiate and professional levels for more than 10 years, serves as a tennis analyst for ESPN. He has also called play-by-play for select events.

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