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."

courtesy Masters-series.com