Roger Federer put a quick end to Marat Safin's exhausting run in the Australian Open. The Swiss star won his second Grand Slam title and solidified his No. 1 ranking, beating Safin 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 6-2.
"What a great start to the year for me, to win the Australian Open and become No. 1 in the world," Federer said. "To fulfill my dreams, it really means very much to me."
Federer, also the Wimbledon champion, won in 2 hours, 15 minutes when Safin _ who tied a Grand Slam record by playing 30 sets _ hit a forehand long on championship point.
"I'm really sorry, I just ran out of gas," said Safin, in the first stage of a comeback from wrist and other injuries that limited him to 13 tournaments last year.
"(Safin) had to battle. He's been longer on the court than me, way longer," Federer said. "It's really nice to see him back. He's a great guy and a great player."
The 22-year-old Federer, who clinched the top spot in the rankings with a semifinal victory over Juan Carlos Ferrero, has not lost a set in his two Grand Slam final appearances. He beat Mark Philippoussis in straight sets at Wimbledon last year.
Safin beat top-seeded Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals and ended Andre Agassi's 26-match Australian Open win streak in the semis.
"I would like to say congratulations Roger, first of all for becoming No. 1 player and beating me," the Russian said. "It was really impressive tennis during these two weeks and well done. I'm actually very glad to be in finals again. I'm really glad to play my best tennis after the injuries I had last year."
Federer, 4-1 against Safin, had 40 winners and 28 unforced errors; Safin had 19 winners and 41 unforced errors. Safin twice slammed his racket into the court to vent his growing frustration.
"I was out of energy, my legs were just too tired," Safin said. "I was a little too tired to keep up with him."
Safin had 123 aces in six previous matches, including 31 against Agassi without a double fault. But he had just three against Federer and five double faults.
Part of Safin's plan was to attack Federer's second serve and that helped him break in the third game of the opening set. The pair traded breaks twice and got back on serve to take the first set into a tiebreaker, which Federer dominated.
Safin matched American Harold Solomon's record of 30 sets for a Grand Slam tournament set in the 1976 French Open. Solomon lost the final at Roland Garros in four sets to Adriano Panatta.