Saturday, October 31, 2009

Safin Moves Closer To 16th Career Title

Two-time champion Marat Safin kept alive his chances of clinching a 16th tour-level title with a 6-0, 7-6(4) quarter-final win over Denis Istomin at the St. Petersburg Open on Friday. He progressed to his first ATP World Tour semi-final in 12 months.

“I missed an easy smash to go 4-1 up and have a double break in the second set and then I started to doubt myself a bit and got a little bit nervous,” admitted Safin. “Serving for the match I lost my serve completely, but then played a good tie-break to be able to win in straight sets. But I won a lottery basically.

“I played very well in the first set, but not so good in the second, so it was nice to win in straight sets.”

Safin, the 2000 and 2001 titlist, improved to 20-5 lifetime at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament, after hitting 12 aces past Istomin in the pair’s first meeting that lasted 83 minutes. The 29-year-old former World No. 1 has amassed an 18-20 season record.

“It’s been a long time since I was in the semi-finals, so its nice to be back playing one tomorrow and also here in Russia,” said Safin, who last reached a semi-final at the 2008 Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

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