Roger powered into the next round of the Australian Open today, defeating fellow former champion Marat Safin in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (5).

"It's special to play Marat, we go way back. I think we like playing each other. It doesn't matter who wins, it is always a good contest," our champ said.

The two ex-number ones have met in Melbourne twice before, with Roger winning the 2004 final and Safin winning a classic semi a year later en-route to the title.

Roger had a close look at Safin's serve in the fifth game of the first set and pounced in the seventh, creaming a backhand down the line and snapping up the first break point on a double fault. Roger whipped another backhand to break early in the second and went a double break up with a heavy forehand before sealing the set with a simple volley.

A furious Safin berated the line judge when he was foot-faulted in the third set tie-break and charged back from 4-1 down but Roger blazed an ace and service winner and took the first match point with another memorable backhand.

Roger will play Tomas Berdych (ATP 21) in the next round and is on track to meet defending champion Djokovic in the semi-finals.


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