MELBOURNE, Australia -- No. 4 Marat Safin's shocking defeat of Roger Federer 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 9-7 in the semifinals opens things up for No. 2 Andy Roddick and Aussie hope No. 3 Lleyton Hewitt.
Despite facing the overwelming favorite to win the tournament, Safin was not initimidated by Federer at all. Safin is back into the final -- after falling to Federer there last year -- trying to win his first Australian Open title.
Before the tournament began, I would have given Hewitt the favorite head-to-head with Roddick. Because Hewitt has spent so much time on court, physically it will be very tough for him to go the distance against Roddick, who had a routine road to the semifinals.
If Roddick continues to serve as he has -- moving it around the box as well as I've ever seen him -- he'll make Hewitt work too hard on his own service games. Roddick will win a four-set match because Hewitt, despite having the entire crowd behind him, will run out of steam.
The new generation has officially arrived. Men's tennis has never been in better shape with the top four seeds reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open.
Patrick McEnroe, a tennis analyst for ESPN, is a former professional player and the Davis Cup captain.