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Safin Advances to Australian Open Final - 2002-01-25

Marat Safin has advanced to his second Grand Slam final, after an amazing five set win over Germany's Tommy Haas, in the Australian Open Tennis Tournament.

The weather played a major part in this semifinal - first it worked against the big Russian, and then for him.

The match started in 96 degree heat, with Safin finding it hard to move his big frame around the court. Haas capitalized and took the first set in a tie breaker. Safin fought back to win the second. He lost the third, but when the clouds burst over the Rod Laver Arena, his prayers were answered.

"I had no chance to win if I stayed," he said, "and if it doesn't rain I think I had no reasonable chance to beat him. I needed break and God gave [it to] me."

The 50 minute rain break gave him time to recuperate. He won the fourth in just 17 minutes and finished Haas off, 6-2, in the final set.

On Safin's 22nd birthday he'll play Sweden's Thomas Johannson for his second Grand Slam crown.