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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Safin Storms Into Semifinals

APSafin lunging for the ball in his straight-set quarterfinal win in Melbourne on Tuesday.
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Fourth seed Marat Safin muscled his way into the semifinals of the Australian Open on Tuesday, thrashing 20th seed Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

The Russian, runner-up at Melbourne Park in two of the past three years, raced to a one-sided victory in only 90 minutes to set up a clash with top seed and defending champion Roger Federer, who humbled four-time winner Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 later Tuesday.

With temperatures hitting 35 degrees Celsius, organizers invoked the extreme heat policy and the roof on Rod Laver Arena was closed, much to Safin's delight.

"We were waiting and discussing it," Safin said. "I said [to Hrbaty] they're going to close the roof.

"Actually, I saw that he really wanted to play with the heat. I think it's an advantage for him. Really honestly, I prefer to play against him indoors. It's much, much better."

Hrbaty had beaten French Open champion Gaston Gaudio and former Australian Open winner Thomas Johansson on his way to the last eight, but he was helpless as an inspired Safin hit 33 clean winners.

Safin admitted he had been worried about playing Hrbaty, the two having shared their previous 12 meetings.

"I wasn't really so confident and so comfortable in the beginning of the match because I knew it's a really tough match, especially that he's playing really well," he said.

"He's a tough guy to play, especially in quarterfinals where he has even more confidence and he has basically nothing to lose playing against me."

Hrbaty said he had been disappointed not to play outside.

"I think his game stepped up one or two levels when he found out that we play indoors," Hrbaty said.

"He was serving much better. I think you can't serve like this if you play outdoors, just so solid and so hard. And also there is a heat factor which you can get a little tired.

"But he was playing too well anyway. I don't think I would have beaten him."

In the later quarterfinal, Swiss world No. 1 Federer won a surprisingly one-sided match on Rod Laver Arena in 99 minutes after dominating Agassi with his impenetrable serve and winning virtually every key point in a nerveless performance.

Eighth seed Agassi was not far from his best, but Federer was able to grab one service break in each of the three sets and successfully fought off the few challenges the 34-year-old American was able to mount.

Federer won three of the four Grand Slams last year and is bidding to become the first man since Pete Sampras in 1993-94 to win three consecutive Grand Slams.