Melbourne, Australia — Thomas Johansson broke down Marat Safin's power game with brilliant shot-making of his own to win the Australian Open men's championship, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4), today.
Johansson spoiled Safin's 22nd birthday, making few mistakes after losing serve on the first game of the match to give the Russian the only service break he needed to take the set.
The 16th-seeded Johansson needed 25 Grand Slam tournaments to go beyond the quarterfinals. But in his first major final, he pushed the 2000 U.S. Open champion around with heavy serves and combinations of top spins, slices, flat drives and lethal drop shots.
Double faults hurt the ninth-seeded Safin in the service breaks that cost him the second and third sets.