Sweet success for Marat Safin
11/01/2000 Stuttgart, Germany
Safin has finally made it. In his sixth attempt the Russian
scored his first win over Fabrice Santoro, convincingly defeating
the Frenchman 6-2, 6-4 in 67 minutes to advance to the third
round. Visibly relieved, he announced it was "the best day in
my life." Safin was obivously nervous in the beginning, and
in the opening game of the match it looked like he might be
in danger again, but he saved a break point.
He then clearly dominated the match, serving seven aces and
breaking Santoro four times. At 4-4 in the second set, Santoro
had a chance to get back into the match, but he failed to convert
two break points.
Safin then put pressure on the Frenchman, and converted his
first match point with a powerful crosscourt backhand.
"I tried to convince myself that I have enough power to beat
him," Safin said, explaining the reasons for his success. "I
was scared in the beginning, but I think I played the right
way today." Safin will now face Greg Rusedski in what should
be an exciting match. The Brit - on a comeback after many injury
problems -has played two convincing matches and is eager to
test his form against one of the ATP Champions Race leaders.
"It will be probably be decided on two, three points," Safin
said. "I mean, from the baseline, I'm better than him. He is
better in the volley. But I think the courts are slow enough
to play from the baseline and just try to hold the serve."