Four years ago, Marat Safin marched onto the center court at the National Tennis Center and defeated Pete Sampras to capture the U.S. Open title. He
was a Grand Slam champion at age 20.
It seems a lifetime ago.
Safin came into this year's Open seeded No. 13 and was sent home early, beaten Tuesday by Thomas Enqvist 7-6 (5), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
The famous Safin temper surfaced only occasionally. He seemed confused at times, shrugging his shoulders, and was unable to solve Enqvist, who once
was ranked No. 4 in the world but dipped as low as No. 95 last year. Enqvist came into this tournament at No. 59.
Safin seemed on the road back to prominence earlier this year when he reached the finals of the Australian Open before losing to Roger Federer. After
that, he failed to win back-toback matches on hard court until reaching the quarterfinals at Cincinnati earlier this month.
Then came the match against Enqvist and a quick exit at the Open.
Fifth-seeded Tim Henman won't be leaving early. His back aching, Henman asked U.S. Open organizers for a one-day delay of his first-round match at the
final Grand Slam of the season.
Granted the request, Henman then went out and played a marathon on Tuesday, defeating Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (3), 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. The match lasted 3
hours, 37 minutes, not the best way to treat a tender back.
Henman, making his 10th straight appearance at the Open, played carefully, trying to avoid further injury. He withstood 39 aces from Karlovic, who
blistered serves as high as 140 mph.
He also avoided mistakes, playing smart, tactical tennis to overcome the 6-foot-10 Karlovic, who hit 84 winners but had 54 unforced errors.
In other early matches No. 10 Nicolas Massu ousted Jose Acasuso 6-4, 6-0, 6-2, No. 15 Paradorn Srichaphan defeated Victor Hanescu 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-1
and No. 22 Dominik Hrbaty defeated Oscar Hernandez 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
Also, Paul Goldstein defeated Takao Suzuki 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Defending men's champion Andy Roddick, seeded No. 2, headlines the evening program, facing Scoville Jenkins.