Struggling Safin falls to Hrbaty as seeds crash in Miami

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The Independent Online

The third seed Marat Safin went out of the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami when he was beaten 7-6, 6-1 by the Slovak Dominik Hrbaty in the third round.

The third seed Marat Safin went out of the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami when he was beaten 7-6, 6-1 by the Slovak Dominik Hrbaty in the third round.

Safin was followed out by the fifth-seeded Spaniard Carlos Moya, who lost 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 to the Swede Thomas Johansson. The No 8 seed, David Nalbandian of Argentina, also slumped to a 7-6, 6-1 defeat by Spain's David Ferrer on Sunday.

Amelie Mauresmo, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, the top three seeds in the women's draw, all progressed into the last 16. Mauresmo beat Anna Smashnova of Israel, 6-2, 6-1, Sharapova routed American Marissa Irvin, 6-2, 6-0 and Williams beat Israel's Shahar Peer, 6-3, 6-3.

Hrbaty took one hour 16 minutes to overcome the Australian Open champion Safin, taking full advantage of his opponent's inability to keep either his temper, or his shots in court.

After losing a first-set tie-break, the Russian allowed his emotions to get the better of him in the second set, slamming down and kicking his racket and frequently throwing his arms up in exaggerated gestures of despair.

Hrbaty soon went 3-1 up and when Safin's serve again proved to be as fragile as his composure, he broke again and served out for an easy win.

"I really didn't play well. I just couldn't find my game," said Safin, who also lost in the third round of last week's Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells. "This month I never play well so for me it's nothing new," he said.

Safin's defeat should ensure that Andy Roddick hangs on to the No 3 position in the world rankings, despite retiring from his opening match here with a wrist injury.

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