WINS TORONTO MASTERS
6th of August 2000 ,Tennis Masters Series, Toronto, Canada
TORONTO, Aug 6 2000
Russian Marat Safin cruised to a 6-2 6-3 victory over qualifier
Harel Levy of Israel to win the Masters Series in Toronto on
Sunday and collect his third title of the year. Marat, who won
in Barcelona and Mallorca in the spring, clinched his first
win in a Masters Series tournament, earning $400,000 and lifting
him from eighth to fourth in the Champions Race.
Light rain delayed the start and interrupted the match after
three games, although the stoppages were short and the players
remained on court. Levy, the first Israeli to reach an ATP Tour
final since Amos Mansdorf in Tel Aviv in 1994, played aggressively
and offered a determined challenge, but committed far too many
unforced errors to offer a serious threat.
As a result, the eighth seeded Russian was in control for most
of the match, only stuttering in the first and final games.
Safin, who saved three match points against Pete Sampras in
the quarter-finals, allowed the energetic Levy to break his
serve in the opening game, but then conceded just four points
in his next seven service games.
It was only when serving for the match that he almost let Levy
back, but he recovered from 0-40 to win the title in just 54
minutes. "I have more experience than him," said Safin, explaining
the ease of his victory. "He got a little bit nervous and didn't
know what to do or where to go. It was nothing else, because
he can play unbelievable tennis. But in the final it's a little
bit tough. I can understand him. "Of course my serve gave me
confidence because it makes the game much easier, but I knew
how to play him. It wasn't only (a question of) the serve. I
could play without, but sometimes you need it to keep him under
Levy, who reached the final without facing a seeded opponent,
was unable to find a winning format against the powerful Russian.
"I tried to change my game a couple of times during the match
and maybe come in behind my serve, but he had an answer to everything,"
"He's a very strong player and he hits the ball very hard, and
he's difficult to play, especially when he has a high percentage
of first serves. When a first serve goes in at 200 kilometres
an hour (124 mph) he's going to be in control of the point."
Safin faces a qualifier in next week's Master Series tournament
in Cincinnati, and is in the same quarter of the draw as Sampras.
Andre Agassi is the top seed, and he faces a stiff challenge
from Toronto semi-finalist Wayne Ferreira.