News and quotes from
Tennis Masters Series, Toronto 2002, Canada


Safin Sails in Toronto

Second seed Marat Safin maintained his 100 percent record in Toronto by overcoming dangerous opponent Juan Ignacio Chela to move into the second round. Safin, who captured his first Tennis Masters Series shield at the National Tennis Centre two years ago, won his seventh consecutive match in Toronto with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Chela, the Argentine who claimed his first ATP title in Amersfoort earlier this month.

"I'm satisfied with my game," said Safin, playing his first tournament since Wimbledon. "I feel great. It's been a long time since I've felt this good."

Safin, who led the ATP Champions Race 2002 for seven weeks earlier in the year after reaching the final at the Tennis Masters Hamburg, took full advantage of Chela's second serve throughout the match. After breaking the Argentine's serve in the third game of the opening set, the 22-year-old Russian maintained his momentum and broke twice in the second before wrapping up his victory in 1 hour, 13 minutes.

Safin, who lost in the first round in Montreal 12 months ago, will now play defending champion Andrei Pavel after the Romanian was the beneficiary of an injury to Gustavo Kuerten just after taking the first set 7-5.

"Pavel is motivated as he is the defending champion," said Safin. "But if you want to win a tournament, you have to get through these tough matches."

Dancevic Warms Up Safin

Russian Marat Safin, the 2002 Tennis Masters Canada No. 2 seed, warmed up for his quarter-final match against Argentina's Guillermo Canas with 17-year-old Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls.

Safin was scheduled to hit with his coach, but Dancevic's coach, Jon Sorbo, had a different idea. "I asked the practice desk if the court was open and Marat was gracious enough to allow Frank to practice," Sorbo said. "It was a great experience for Frank, as Marat was nice."

"I wasn't nervous at all, it was just like another practice for me," Dancevic said of the one-hour warm-up. "He gave me a few pointers, but it was just an ordinary practice."

The two are not strangers to one another. They played one another in the Liverpool Exhibition tournament the week before Wimbledon. Dancevic gave him a fight, but Safin came out on top 7-6, 6-4.
Somewhere down the road, these two are sure to have more encounters on the court.