Safin through after Ferreira strains stomach
Lucky ninth seed Marat Safin progressed to his first Australian Open semifinal on Wednesday after a stomach muscle strain forced unseeded South African Wayne Ferreira to pull out of their quarter-final.
Ferreira injured himself during just the third game of the match on Melbourne Park's Rod Laver Arena against the Russian strongman and lasted only another four games.
"I feel sorry but also I am very lucky we are not playing," Safin said after their truncated match.
"Today was a present I think," he said, adding he did not want to play on such a hot day with the temperature well above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).
Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open champion who downed Pete Sampras to reach the quarter-finals, will now play either seventh seed Tommy Haas of Germany or talented former world number one Marcelo Rios in the semifinals.
"I think for me it is great so I don't have to spend too much energy on the court...I can save my energy for the semifinals," Safin said.
Ferreira, 30, called for treatment from a trainer immediately after dropping his serve in the third game.
He went back out onto court but the injury clearly hampered Ferreira's movement and the South African dropped serve again to hand Safin a 5-2 lead.
He went back to his courtside chair and was unable to continue.
Ferreira reached the 1992 Australian Open semifinals but had not reached a grand slam quarter-final since Wimbledon in 1994.
He had survived two tough five-set matches in the previous two rounds, fighting back from two sets to love down to beat Croatian Ivan Ljubicic in the third round.
Safin said he was now feeling confident after beating Sampras in four tight sets on Monday.
"I'm good, I'm feeling well, I'm confident, I'm in the semifinals...it's a big opportunity," Safin said.
"I would love to win this tournament," he said.