Marat Safin


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08/02/2002 Toronto, Canada
Guillermo Canas upset No. 2 Marat Safin 7-5, 6-3 Friday to advance to the semifinals of the $2.95 million Tennis Masters Canada.
Safin, who won this tournament two years ago, became the favorite when No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt lost in the first round Monday at the National Tennis Centre at York University.
The first set was seemingly heading towards a tie-break with Safin serving at 5-6, but Canas put in a clever drop shot to take a break and the set.
In searing temperatures, Safin began to lose control of his game and temper, arguing calls and slamming his racket into the court when Canas recorded an early break in the second set.
That gave the Argentine a 3-1 lead and he never looked back.
It's so pathetic," said a disappointed Safin. "I'm laughing at myself for how badly I played."
Safin made 19 unforced errors in the first set. The 22-year-old Russian grew more angry during the match, cursing and raising his racket as if to slam it to the court.

08/01/2002 Toronto, Canada
No. 2 seed Marat Safin dropped a set, but avoided the third round upset by defeating Chile's Marcelo Rios, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
"He used to be No. 1 in the world, and for me he's the most talented player in the world," Safin said. "He's very dangerous. Today he was playing great and was very close to beating me."
Safin, the winner in Toronto in 2000, fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the third set to secure a fourth quarterfinal appearance in a Masters Series event this year after previously reaching the quarters in Miami and Monte Carlo and the final in Hamburg.
"I was completely lost in the second set, when he was a break up," the 22-year-old Russian said. "I thought it was the end. Then I came back but was down 1-4 again in the third set. I just kept fighting and tried to stay in the match. With him you have to hold your serve and wait for him to make mistakes."
Safin must now face Guillermo Canas, who has already devoured No. 10 seed Roger Federer and No. 5 Yevgeny Kafelnikov this week in Toronto. "He's playing great tennis right now," Safin said. "I saw him today, and he played great tennis. But I also think Yevgeny was tired after two tough matches against Mirnyi and El Aynaoui and the doubles."

07/31/2002 Toronto, Canada
If it was a game between two champions, Marat Safin paid no mind. Ancient history, said Safin, is just that. The Russian star dispatched defending champion Andrei Pavel of Romania 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the second round of the $2.95-million US Tennis Masters Canada tournament Wednesday, to advance to the round of 16.
Safin won the 2000 tournament in Toronto before going on to win the US Open later that summer. Pavel won the Tennis Masters Canada last summer in Montreal.
"It is already history, two years and one year ago, it's already in the past," said Safin, the No. 2 seed and the favourite to win this week after top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt of Australia was upset by Felix Mantilla of Spain on Monday. "You're coming here to win it again, and to win the tournament. It doesn't matter against who you're playing, you just go for it."
The six-foot-four Safin, who has yet to add to his 10 career titles this season, went up 5-0 in the first set before the Romanian replied with his blistering serve.
"He was serving first and second serve like 220 kilometres per hour. What do you want me to do?" Safin said, chuckling. "It's like, 'Good luck.' "
In the tie-breaker, though, at 3-3, Safin's serve hit Pavel in the face, and seemed to throw the Romanian off-guard. Pavel managed just one point after that.
"In a tie-breaker, you basically need to serve first serve because it's important," said Safin. "At 3-3, you're a little bit nervous so just serve strong to the body and let's see what happens. It's very difficult to play it.
"The serve saved my ass in the tie-breaker," he added, laughing.
Safin plays the winner of Wednesday night's game between Carlos Moya of Spain and Chile's Marcelo Rios.
In the first round doubles, duo Yevgeny Kafelnikov/Marat Safin lost to R. Federer/W. Ferreira 5-7, 1-6.

07/30/2002 Toronto, Canada
Russian second seed Marat Safin opened his hardcourt campaign with 6-4, 6-3 win over Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela on Tuesday, leading a parade of grand-slam winners into the second round of the Canada Tennis Masters.
Joining the 2000 U.S. Open champion in the next round were former-French Open winners Carlos Moya and Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
But former-Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, three-time French winner Gustavo Kuerten and current Roland Garros champion and sixth seed Albert Costa failed to join them, all stumbling out at the first hurdle.
A busy day of action at the US$2.9 million tournament will conclude late in the evening with Pete Sampras, the greatest grand slam winner ever with 13 crowns, taking on South African Wayne Ferreira.
Back in action for the first time since a second-round loss at Wimbledon, a well-rested Safin faced a difficult opening assignment against the 25th ranked Chela.
But the big Russian, who sits No. 2 in the Champions race standings, was always in command and claimed early breaks in both sets.
"I thing I played great," said Safin, the highest remaining seed following world number one Lleyton Hewitt's first-round upset on Monday. "Especially since it was difficult to play after a long vacation I had in Moscow."
"I needed a break. I was tired, tired of tennis mentally and physically and Wimbledon was horrible.
"I had such a great vacation, I was enjoying it so much coming back to work is real difficult.
"Now I'm feeling refreshed, I feel motivated and playing good tennis."
Safin can expect a much sterner test in the second round, where he will face defending champion Andrei Pavel of Romania, who advanced after Kuerten was forced to retire with a recurring hip problem.

06/26/2002 Wimbledon, UK
Marat Safin, the second seed and one of the favourites for this year's men's singles title, has lost dramatic four setter at Wimbledon today in the second round to Olivier Rochus of Belgium.., 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1).

06/24/2002 Wimbledon, UK
Marat Safin, the Russian who is occupying his highest seeding place at Wimbledon as second seed, came through the first round without difficulties against the 1997 runner-up, Cedric Pioline of France. Safin, the US Open Champion, won their match on No.1 Court , 7-6 (9-7), 6-2, 6-3.
This was an important win for Safin who is appearing at The Championships for the fourth time. Last year he reached the quarter-finals, where he was beaten by the eventual winner, Goran Ivanisevic. Pioline,who turned 33 earlier this month, has been playing at Wimbledon since 1991 and is more than comfortable on grass.
The match reached an early climax in the first set tie-break when Pioline held one set point which Safin saved with a brave volley. Then Safin took the tie-break on his third set point.
"It was a very difficult first round for me," Safin said after the match, "The courts are new and it's a little bit difficult for me to start here and to play well, especially because you are nervous, you have a big opponent, Pioline, and it's difficult to play.
"I think I played well for the first round. I served well. I had some good volleys. Baseline was working very good. So I'm satisfied."

06/22/2002 Liverpool, UK
Marat Safin beat Jan-Michael Gambill 7-6 (6), 6-7 (3), 6-4 on Saturday to win the Liverpool international exhibition tournament.
Safin, the No. 2 ranked player, did not drop his serve throughout the match. The former U.S. Open champion narrowly got the better of the first tiebreak, but two double-faults in the second gave Gambill the chance to get even.
But Safin broke Gambill's serve in the seventh game of the decisive set, the only break in the match, and went on to win.

06/21/2002 Liverpool, UK
Friday, in the semifinal, Marat Safin of Russia downed Sandon Stolle of Australia 6-4, 6-4 and reach the final of the Liverpool International.
In the other semifinal, Jan-Michael Gambill beat Morocco's Hicham Arazi 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2.

06/19/2002 Liverpool, UK
Marat Safin beat American Scott Humphries 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3 in the Liverpool International Wednesday to virtually seal his place in the semifinals of the round-robin exhibition.
Safin took the first set on a tight tiebreak but paid the price for failing to convert three break point chances in the seventh game of the second set and was broken himself in the 11th.
But he broke Humphries in the fourth game of the final set and wrapped up the win.
"I am enjoying it in Liverpool and being guaranteed three matches is very good preparation for Wimbledon next week," Safin said.
"Grass is not my favorite surface and these are not perfect conditions for me, but it was a very good match to play."

06/17/2002 Liverpool, UK
World number two Marat Safin played down his Wimbledon chances after winning a three-set battle with Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan in the Liverpool International.
Safin clearly enjoyed himself during his 7-6 3-6 7-6 win over his opponent in the first of his round-robin matches in the low-key tournament.
It was the Russian's first match since his defeat in the semi-finals of the French Open last month following treatment for a back injury in Moscow.
Safin said: "I don't think grass is my speciality so I feel no pressure at all from anybody going into Wimbledon.
"I am enjoying this week and I am guaranteed three or four matches to help me get ready for Wimbledon.
"I am feeling OK and playing well at the moment, but I know I can do better."

06/07/2002 Paris, France
Marat Safin accepted his French Open semi-final defeat like a good sport. "I wasn't good enough, that is it. It is just another day and that is how it is. You have to accept this," he said after his 6-3 6-2 6-4 defeat at the hands of Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero.
"Of course it is tough but it is life and that's how it is. You have to be tough and get on with it," he said. "Okay I was nearly in the final here, I was nearly winning the tournament... But from this point to winning the title, it is like the distance from here to the moon."
The 22-year-old, runner-up in the Australian Open at the start of the year and U.S. Open champion in 2000 said he did not know if he would win a major again, but was not concerned that he was coming up short in the prime of his career.
"I don't know if I am going to win a big one again, who can know?" he asked. "But I just want to play my tennis and enjoy it. If I win again, if that moment ever comes again, then that will be marvellous. I would love that, but who knows, who can tell?"
Safin, the second seed at Roland Garros never got into the match as Ferrero reached his first grand slam final after losing in the semi-finals here on his previous two visits in 2000 and 2001.
"The guy was just better than me. I tried to find my game but he was too good... I couldn't do much and that is why the score was 6-3 6-2 6-4. Pretty easy, huh? Even when I had a break in the first set he played much better. The guy knows how to play. He has learned a lot and is very dangerous... I tried to move him around but the guy was everywhere. He is fast and has great shots -- I couldn't find a solution to beat him."
Safin said Ferrero was unrecognisable from the 14-year-old he practised with eight years ago. "He played completely different as a kid," Safin smiled. "He was making lobs all the time and never missing a ball... just getting it back. Now he is attacking all the time... It's impressive how you can change your game like that."
Safin's next goal is to reclaim the number one ranking he held in 2000. "If I can stay solid this year, make my results without rushing anything then I think I can become number one," he said. "This, I think, is my goal."

06/06/2002 Paris, France
One extra day of rest couldn't help Sebastien Grosjean recuperate from his marathon efforts this past 10 days, the Frenchman falling in straight sets to No2 Marat Safin on Thursday.
In Thursday's match, both players required the assistance of the trainer, Safin even before the match had started! The Russian was treated for blisters on his right foot, while Grosjean needed help with his groin problems.
Nevertheless, it was Safin who seemed less bothered by his ailment, the No2 seed playing uninhibited tennis and powerfully directing the rallies. It became quickly clear that there would be no French miracle. More so than earlier in the tournament, Grosjean's groin seemed to affect him, and he moved less freely around the court.
Safin broke for the first time in the eighth game, surging to a 5-3 lead. He went on to take the set in the following game, after 31 minutes of play, and having only dropped four points on serve.
Grosjean was clearly suffering and called for the trainer. A couple of minutes later, he went back on court, to attempt to reverse his fortunes. Yet, more so than in the first set, he looked anxious and restrained in his movements, making him vulnerable to Safin's aggressive attacks.
In the third game of the second set, Grosjean went up 40-0. But Safin kept the pressure on, bouncing back to break for a 3-1 lead. He went on to break again, and take the set 6-2. Grosjean had been treated again at 2-5 down and thereafter never looked like coming back. Safin secured victory in one hour, 43 minutes.
"I played quite well. I played smart. I tried to stay calm and play my game," said Safin, who now faces No11 Juan Carlos Ferrero. "You can never be satisfied with your game. You always want to do better. But I played well enough to reach the semifinals and to have a chance to go to the final," he added.
Safin, who grew up in Spain, is the only foreigner in the semis (there are three Spaniards - Costa, Corretj and Ferrero). He trained in Valencia since he was 14-years-old, near the place where Ferrero was raised.
"I know the Spanish players quite well. They are the biggest fighters in the world. They have a very good baseline game, and they never miss a shot. I know I will have to put Ferrero under pressure. You definitely need a good serve and try to look for the net. To stay with him. To try to stay calm.... I know his game, he knows my game. I always play well against him. I like his game. I feel comfortable against him."

06/03/2002 Paris, France
Marat Safin has his mental fragility exposed in his four set victory over the underrated Argentine David Nalbandian 6-3 6-3 3-6 6-4. The big Russian spent the first two sets imposing his monstrous first serve and lethal groundstrokes onto his shell-shocked opponent, but then self-combusted in the third set when Nalbanian tightened his game, cut down on his errors and cranked a handful of winners.
"The first two sets was great tennis, I think, then I lost my game," said Safin. "I had my match in my hands the fourth set, 3-0. Just try to make 4-0. But I just missed everything and I was a break down in the fourth."
The Argentine frustrated the volatile Russian with a brilliant display of shotmaking late in the third set, wearing the big man down by taking risks on the big points. Safin's body language told the story, the third seed hanging his head and waving his arms furiously.
"I start to play his game, and that's why I start to have problems, and that's why I lost my game," summed up the Russian. "My game is just to, you know, make the point shorter, try to look for the net.
"In every match, you have this feeling that you are losing your game. It means you are losing a little bit of concentration.
"You try to hang in there. But it's difficult. The other guy is feeling this, and he's playing much better because he has more confidence the way the match is going."
Safin later admitted that he was happy the majority of his performance today. "Was a great fight. I'm satisfied the way I fought."
He comes up against one of his friends on the tour, Frenchman Arnaud Di Pasquale, one of two unheralded French wildcards to post surprise third round victories on Saturday.

06/01/2002 Paris, France
Marat Safin has his mental fragility exposed in his four set victory over the underrated Argentine David Nalbandian 6-3 6-3 3-6 6-4. The big Russian spent the first two sets imposing his monstrous first serve and lethal groundstrokes onto his shell-shocked opponent, but then self-combusted in the third set when Nalbanian tightened his game, cut down on his errors and cranked a handful of winners.
"The first two sets was great tennis, I think, then I lost my game," said Safin. "I had my match in my hands the fourth set, 3-0. Just try to make 4-0. But I just missed everything and I was a break down in the fourth."
The Argentine frustrated the volatile Russian with a brilliant display of shotmaking late in the third set, wearing the big man down by taking risks on the big points. Safin's body language told the story, the third seed hanging his head and waving his arms furiously.
"I start to play his game, and that's why I start to have problems, and that's why I lost my game," summed up the Russian. "My game is just to, you know, make the point shorter, try to look for the net.
"In every match, you have this feeling that you are losing your game. It means you are losing a little bit of concentration.
"You try to hang in there. But it's difficult. The other guy is feeling this, and he's playing much better because he has more confidence the way the match is going."
Safin later admitted that he was happy the majority of his performance today. "Was a great fight. I'm satisfied the way I fought."
He comes up against one of his friends on the tour, Frenchman Arnaud Di Pasquale, one of two unheralded French wildcards to post surprise third round victories on Saturday.

05/30/2002 Paris, France
Victory tasted delightfully dirty to Marat Safin today. The second-seeded Safin had endured a five-set struggle that spanned more than three hours against Olivier Rochus, the Mighty Mouse of tennis whose small stature is offset by a huge heart, when Safin race to the net behind a bluff of an approach shot.
As Rochus drilled a forehand pass, Safin made a desperate dive and somehow delivered a backhand drop volley winner as he fell face first onto the red clay court. When Safin arose, his shirt was covered with clay, his teeth were streaked with traces of the dirt, and he wore the wide grin of a winner who was savoring the taste of a hard-fought 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 second-round triumph.
At 5-feet-5 inches tall, Rochus, whose childhood ambition in life was "to be tall", would almost need a step ladder to give the 6-foot-4 Safin a high five. But the Belgian took the court knowing victory was well within his reach. In their lone career meeting, Rochus registered a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Safin at the 2001 Hopman Cup on hard court. Throughout his career, Safin has been susceptible to defeat against small players who cover the court quickly and can take the pace off the ball, which can create errors from the hard-hitting Russian.
A year ago, Frenchman Fabrice Santoro played all the angles in dismissing the second-seeded Safin from the second round of Roland Garros with a 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 0-6, 6-1 victory. It was Santoro's sixth win in seven matches against Safin and while Rochus is not quite as skilled as changing the pace and playing the angles as Santoro, his play proved problematic at the outset as he captured the first set.
A pinched nerve in Safin's back forced him to withdraw from his World Team Cup match on Saturday, but the injury didn't appear to hamper Safin's serve as much in the decisive set today as he slammed seven of his 15 aces and produced 15 winners in the final set to move into the third round.
The 22-year-old Safin enjoys a favorable draw with 29th-seeded Argentine David Nalbandian awaiting as his third round opponent.

05/29/2002 Paris, France
Second seeded Marat Safin had to contend with a determined French wildcard and a very vocal crowd before winning through to the second round at Roland Garros, Wednesday afternoon.
The big-serving Russian finally dominated his opponent, the feisty wildcard Mikael Llodra, closing out the match 6-4 2-6 7-6(7) 6-4 in two hours, 48 minutes.
22-year-old Llodra, a flashy and extremely talented lefthander whose style is often compared to the great Henri Leconte, nevertheless challenged the big Russian today.
A quarterfinalist in Delray Beach earlier this year - where he took Andy Roddick to three sets - Llodra had also played and won his first Davis Cup match last month (in doubles with countryman Fabrice Santoro).
In the first set, Safin - who withdrew from the World Team Championships in D�sseldorf last week with a pinched nerve in his back - played way below his best tennis. The Russian was forced to wait until the tenth game before breaking for the first time and capturing the set from the uninhibited Frenchman.
"I couldn't really serve for two sets, I think. I didn't really serve hard. I played with a second serve," said Safin of the niggling injury. "But then I decided because I have to push a little bit more with the serve. But I was a little bit scared."
In the second set and with the crowd behind him, Llodra raised his level, pounding winner after winner from all over the court. Taking chances on every ball, he smothered Safin, and after 29 minutes had levelled the match at one set apiece.
"He played I think well," said Safin. "He's a tough player with these conditions - small court, crowd, a little bit of wind. His game is perfect to play with such conditions."
Suffering from a bad bout of blisters, the second seed forced a tiebreak in the third set, but then missed his first three set points, sending the fans into a frenzy. Llodra double-faulted to hand him the set. "From there, you know, I felt a little bit more of confidence, that I could return the serve and I could do a little bit more on his serve," said the Russian.
Safin surged ahead in the fourth to stand at 5-3. Llodra broke back with a magnificent passing shot but was unable to capitalise on his comeback, the Russian thumping two passing shots in to take the match.
Safin will play Belgium's Olivier Rochus, straight sets winner over Attila Savolt, in the second round.

05/25/2002 Dusseldorf, Germany
Marat Safin said he wasn't sure if he'd be fit for the French Open after he was forced to pull out of his singles match in the World Team Cup final in Dusseldorf.
The Russian withdrew with a back injury when trailing 3-0 in the third set against Jose Acasuso of Argentina, and said he'd have more treatment before making a final decision.
With the French Open starting on Monday, the withdrawal was hardly the preparation Safin would have wished for, and he admitted that his back must improve if he's to have a chance in Paris.
"I am going to the hospital to check my back," he said afterwards. "I have two days to recover. I will see if I can play next week. It must be quite bad if I retired.
"If it was like how it was today, I don't think I can. I will try to see if I can do something over the next few days.
Safin, who had played well all week in Dusseldorf, looked good again as he raced through the first set 6-2 against Acasuso.
However, as his opponent grew in confidence, Safin began to get rattled and the Argentine took advantage to level the match at one set apiece.
Acasuso then broke for 2-0 in the third, before Safin then had treatment on his back, before finally calling it a day and handing Argentina a 1-0 lead.
Argentina then went on to win the match 2-0 thanks to Guillermo Canas, who beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-4, 6-2.

05/24/2002 Dusseldorf, Germany
For the third time after 2000 and 2001 the Russians will play in the final of the ARAG WORLD TEAM CUP. On the last day of the group matches, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin won the crucial point for Russia with a 6:1 and 6:0 doubles score against Miles Maclagan and Martin Lee, defeating the British with 2:1.
The doubles match lasted only 53 minutes, in which the British had no chance against the powerful tennis of the two Russians. In the final on Saturday against Argentina, they will try to fulfill their dream, after loosing in the 2000 final against Slovakia and in 2001 against Australia.

05/24/2002 Dusseldorf, Germany
The 22-year-old Russian won both his singles and doubles matches on Friday against Great Britain.
Marat Safin lead Russia to the final of the ARAG World Team Championship, winning his singles match and doubles match (with partner Yevgeny Kafelnikov) to seal the Russian's 2-1 victory over Great Britain. Although Safin appeared to struggle early in his match against Martin Lee, he managed to edge the Briton 7-5, 7-5 on the last day of Round Robin action in Dusseldorf.
"In the first six games of my match [singles] I couldnit move or run," Safin said. "I had a lot of pain in my back, then it got better and at least I could serve."
Safin also proved to be a valuable asset as he and Kafelnikov crushed Great Britain in doubles, winning 6-1, 6-0 to seal the Russian victory. Earlier, Kafelnikov's singles slump continued as he fell to Tim Henman 6-2, 7-6(6). Iim disappointed with my individual performance," Kafelnikov said. "Iim trying hard. The confidence is the most important thing... [But] itis a team effort. We step in for each other. Iim not in such good form, and Marat is fighting for us."
Russia now faces Argentina in Saturday's final. Both countries will be playing in their third WTC final. Argentina won the title in 1980 (d. Italy), and lost in the final in 1989. Russia, meanwhile, is playing in its third consecutive final, having lost both finals in 2000 and 2001.
Y. Kafelnikov - T. Henman 2:6 6:7 (6)
Marat Safin - M. Lee 7:5 7:5
Kafelnikov / Safin - Lee / MacLagan 6:1 6:0

05/22/2002 Dusseldorf, Germany
Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov teamed to give Russia their first victory in World Team Championship play by winning the deciding doubles rubber.
Safin and Kafelnikov defeated the Spanish team of Alex Corretja and Albert Costa 6-7(1), 6-3, 10-5 in the Match Tie-Break to even their tie record at 1-1.
Safin also won his singles match for the second time this week - this time defeating Alex Corretja in straight sets. Safin, who had Russia's lone win in Monday's loss to Germany, was please with his victory over the Spaniard.
"He's a difficult opponent and you have to work hard to beat him," Safin said. "I tried to play my game and to be patient. I'm very happy that I served well today."
Safin is still holding hope that the Russians can win their next match on Friday and move into the finals. "We still have a change to go to the final," Safin said. "We want to win this tournament and it's important for us."
Kafelnikov's struggle on clay this year continued as the Russian was defeated in straight sets by Albert Costa. Costa, who was leading 4-1 when play moved indoors, had to adjust his game against Kafelnikov.
"Kafelnikov plays aggressive indoors," Costa said. "The match outside was totally different and I was happier playing outdoors."
Marat Safin - Alex Corretja 6-4, 6-4.
Y. Kafelnikov - A. Costa 3:6 6:7(6).
Safin / Kafelnikov - Costa / Corretja 6:7 6:3 (10:5)

05/20/2002 Dusseldorf, Germany
In today�s first tie on Center Court I, Russia faced Germany.
Tommy Haas, did not have an easy time playing a strong Yevgeny Kafelnikov. It was a nerve-racking first set that Haas won 7-6. With the tie-break he broke resistance of Kafelnikov. He fought but could not win more than three games against a spectacluous play of Haas in the second set.
This victory gave Nicolas Kiefer the chance to make the lead of Germany incontestable. After Kiefer won the first set 6-4. His opponent, Marat Safin, became stronger and forced the German to make more errors.
Safin won the next set 6-2. Kiefer had to pull his game together in the third set and that is exactly what he did. In the second tie-break of the day he had the spectators on his side.
The crowd was so excited about the play that they wave produced the wave between change-overs. The atmosphere was indescribable; packed stadium, beautiful sunshine, spectacular play by the German, and victory close at hand. Kiefer won the last set to lead Germany to its victory over Russia.
In the following doubles the Russian team gave the Germans a lesson in doubles play. With a 6-1 6-1 victory, the Russians shortened the tie to 1-2, but could not change the outcome as Germany won the tie.
Y. Kafelnikov - T. Haas 6:7(5) 3:6.
Marat Safin - N. Kiefer 4:6 6:2 6:7(5).
Kafelnikov/Safin - Burgsmueller/Braasch 6:1 6:1.

Former Olympic champion Marc Rosset has become the latest name to sign up for next month's Liverpool International tennis tournament.
He joins ATP Champions Race number one Marat Safin for the 16-man event at the city's Calderstones Park.
Rosset, who has won 15 singles titles in his career, took Olympic gold in Barcelona in 1992.
The big hitting right-hander - who has started working as a coach with Safin - is also renowned for making headlines off the court as well as on.
The 31-year-old refused to carry the Swiss flag at the Atlanta Olympics as he would have had to wear red lederhosen.
He also escaped death by cancelling his seat at the last minute on a fatal Swissair flight from New York in 1998.
The pre-Wimbledon event, which begins on June 16, starts with a group phase, with the top player from the four groups qualifying for the semi-finals.
Promoter Mike Ross welcomed the signing of both players.
"Marat has been in sensational form which is fantastic news for the tournament," he said.
"Marc's signing is a great boost for the fans. He has been one of the most consistent performers on the tennis circuit for the past decade."
"He has true quality and knows what it takes to be a champion. He's a great player to watch and he's not afraid to show his emotions."

05/19/2002 Hamburg, Germany
Roger Federer secured his first Masters Series title by demolishing Marat Safin in straight sets, 6-1 6-3 6-4.
Marat Safin, who thrashed world number one Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter-finals, was this time on the receiving end as Federer cruised to victory.
"I have more experience than him and was probably the favourite but I didn't really play very well as you can see," Safin said.
"I couldn't bring my tennis to the court and he played probably the best game of tennis in his life."
Hitting clean winners down the lines from both sides, the Swiss kept sixth seed Safin lunging in vain throughout the first set which he clinched 6-1 before Safin had even warmed up.
Breaks in the first and fifth games left the Russian trailing the second set 5-1, and he faced two set points as Federer could not miss.
However, the Russian saved both with full-blooded forehands and he broke for the first time in the next game after just over an hour of play.
But the Safin revival was not to last and Federer merely registered another break straight away for a two-set lead.
Safin was powerless against the marauding Swiss who was quicker across the Rothenbaum clay, more accurate and stronger.
Federer held serve to open the third set before breaking again as the 13,000-capacity crowd braced themselves for a short day.
But the enigmatic Russian promptly broke Federer to love and held as he tried to mount a defiant stand in the face of a barrage of winners.
A series of clubbed returns saw him break again and, for the first time in the match, Safin appeared to believe he could launch a challenge.
Federer stood firm, though, and broke back when Safin fired a double-fisted backhand long.
And at 5-4, Safin spooned a forehand long on the second match point he faced and the 20-year-old Federer secured his third career title in a match lasting just over two hours.

05/18/2002 Hamburg, Germany
Marat Safin and Roger Federer advanced to the final of the Hamburg Masters Series on Saturday.
The sixth-seeded Safin was leading Tommy Robredo 6-2, 4-2 when the Spaniard retired because of "an irritation in the lower ankle joint.''
"I had no chance beating him like this,'' said Robredo, who had his right ankle taped during a changeover after seven games.
Safin, who won in US Open in 2000, is assured of the No. 1 ranking in the Champions Race next week. Thomas Johansson, who lost in the second round, had held the top spot since he beat Safin in the final of the Australian Open.
Federer, who has beaten Safin twice on clay, would fall one point short of the top ranking even if he beats Safin in the final.
Safin rose to No. 1 when he won the U.S. Open in 2000, but lost the top spot on the final day of the season to Gustavo Kuerten. The 22-year-old Russian has not won a tournament this year, but has a record of 22-9.
"I never started so well into a season,'' Safin said. ``I played well two years ago and I am trying to get to the point where I was then. I think I am close.''

05/17/2002 Hamburg, Germany
Marat Safin produced an awesome display of power and poise to overwhelm world number one Lleyton Hewitt in a semi-final of under an hour at the Hamburg Masters.
Hewitt, known for his feisty counter-punching style, was for once helpless against a barrage of punishing serves and groundstrokes as Safin ran out a 6-3 6-1 winner.
With every shot in Safin's arsenal working perfectly, Hewitt was rushed into errors time and again and the Australian, usually so vocal on court, made hardly a sound other than in anguish.
The top seed kept up with the Russian until 3-4 in the first set when Safin stepped up the pace on his returns as Hewitt's serve wilted under pressure.
And Safin was near-perfect in the second set, his only mistakes coming in the final game when on three match points he tried outrageous winners before Hewitt double-faulted on a fourth.
"I felt great as soon as I got out there," said Safin, finalist here two years ago as he took their series to 3-3.
Safin gave much of the credit to Swiss former claycourt star Marc Rosset, who has been helping to hone the Russian's game in recent weeks.
"He's a great guy. There are many parallels between us. We have a similar approach to the game and I'm sure we can have a successful partnership," said the 22-year-old winner of the US Open 2000.
Safin faces the winner of the last quarter-final of the day between unseeded pair Stefan Koubek of Austria and Spain's Tommy Robredo.

05/16/2002 Hamburg, Germany
Sixth seed Marat Safin reached the quarterfinals by surviving two games to defeat Juan Ignacio Chela, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.
The match was dominated by long rallies and many unforced errors, but Safin managed to win the big points to come through. It is his second quarterfinal appearance in Hamburg; he was a finalist here in 2000, losing a dramatic five-set final to Gustavo Kuerten.
Safin's next opponent is L. Hewitt, who beat Jiri Novak 6-4, 6-3.

05/15/2002 Hamburg, Germany
Sixth seed Marat Safin, who was in the Hamburg final two years ago, scored a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win over Spaniard Alberto Martin. The Russian meets Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the next round.

05/14/2002 Hamburg, Germany
Sixth seed Marat Safin thundered through to the second round of the Hamburg Masters on Tuesday as the heavyweights opened his campaigns at the $2.8 million claycourt event.
Safin crushed Italy's Davide Sanguinetti 6-3 6-4.
Safin looked untroubled in the final match of the day, sweeping past Sanguinetti's finesse with some brutal power play. He next meets Spain's Alberto Martin who won his opening match on Monday.
In doubles, in the first round Marat Safin and Guillermo Canas (ARG) lost to duo T. Johansson (SWE)
M. Philippoussis (AUS) 6-7(9-7), 4-6.

05/08/2002 Rome, Italy
Sixth seed Marat Safin lost to Xavier Malisse (BEL) in the second round of the Tennis Masters Roma with a
3-6, 4-6.

05/07/2002 Rome, Italy
In doubles, in the first round Marat Safin and Guillermo Canas (ARG) lost to duo Lucas Arnold (ARG) / Gaston Etlis (ARG) 6-0, 6-2.

05/06/2002 Rome, Italy
Sixth seed Marat Safin safely moved through to the second round of the Tennis Masters Roma with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Spain's Alberto Martin. Opening proceedings at the Foro Italico, Safin always looked in control against Martin, as the faster court conditions suited the Russian's powerful baseline game.
Sampras, who won the Tennis Masters Roma title in 1994, had his best week on the ATP circuit in Houston for some time, defeating arch-rival Andre Agassi before losing to Andy Roddick in the final. And, having spent a lot of time on the practise court with coach Jose Higueras in recent weeks, Sampras believes he is ready for the upcoming clay court season.
"I played very good tennis today," said Safin. "I was surprised that I could play so good. The courts are very fast, so it's easy for me to play here with my serve and my returns."
Despite having never progressed beyond the second in three previous attempts in Rome, Safin feels that things have changed both on and off the court over the last 12 months, and that he is ready to make a serious challenge for the title this time around.
"Last year was very difficult for me," said Safin. "I was injured, I lost early in Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg and I lost my confidence. But this year has been very good for me. I reached the final in Australia, I'm playing well and I am confident. In Rome and Hamburg, I will have to do something special but I think I have a good chance."
And Safin is looking beyond the upcoming clay court season, and has his sights firmly set on the ultimate goal. "My objective is to finish the year at No. 1," said Safin, who has been working with his "assistant coach" Marc Rosset during the last few weeks. "I have to stay focused, play the way I've been playing and never give up."
Safin now meets Belgium's Xavier Malisse, who defeated qualifier Jose Acasuso to win his first match since reaching the semifinals in Scottsdale back in March. Having lost his last five first round matches, Malisse ended his baron spell with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over the Spaniard.

04/19/2002 Monte Carlo, Monaco
Carlos Moya overcame a battling performance from Marat Safin to reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters.
Moya had two match points at 5-3 in the deciding set before he eventually won through 6-1 2-6 7-6 (7-4).
Moya looked the sharper initially and raced into a 5-1 lead before claiming the set after a terrific point which saw a deflated Safin sprawled on the floor by the net, looking on as Moya's gentle lob dropped into the back of the court.
Safin levelled it in the next set before the titanic third provided awesome entertainment.
Safin carved out the opening set points at 2-2 in the third but blew his chances before Moya, rather against the run of play, broke for a 5-3 lead.
Serving for the match, Moya was taken to several deuces before Safin eventually claimed it to peg it back to 5-4.
It then went to serve and Moya opened up a 5-2 lead in the tie-break.
Safin broke two Moya service points courtesy of two lazy unforced errors before the Spaniard wrapped it up with a mini-break of his own followed by a terrific forehand which caught the outside of the baseline to book his place in Saturday's semis.

The 22-year-old Safin was a first-round casualty in his prior three appearances in Monte Carlo.
Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open champion, was playing his second quarterfinal in a Masters Series event this year. He lost in the quarters at Key Biscayne last month.
In doubles, in the 1/4 final Marat Safin and Guillermo Canas (ARG) lost to duo P. Haarhuis (NED) / Y. Kafelnikov (RUS) 7-6(9), 6-2.

04/18/2002 Monte Carlo, Monaco
Marat Safin's run through the Monte Carlo Masters Series event is proving eventful.
His second-round victory over French schoolboy Richard Gasquet was followed by a win which ended David Nalbandian's remarkable run of results.
The Russian is living up to his second-seeded status in the principality, but he was pushed by the Argentinian Nalbandian.
An eventual three-set victory, 6-1 6-7 (7/5) 6-2, Safin looked in danger of becoming the latest victim of last week's Estoril winner when Nalbandian levelled the match at one set apiece.
But the former US Open champion, who has reportedly lost his racket sponsorship deal, had too much class and clinched his place in the quarter-finals.
His next opponent will be classic clay-court exponent Carlos Moya who notched up a 6-1 7-5 victory against fellow Spaniard Alex Corretja.
In doubles, in the second round Marat Safin and Guillermo Canas (ARG) defeated duo Robbie Koenig (RSA)/Thomas Shimada (JPN) 6-4, 7-5.

04/17/2002 Monte Carlo, Monaco
Former world number one Marat Safin halted the progress of 15-year-old Richard Gasquet with a straight sets victory to move into the third round.
Gasquet, the youngest qualifier for a Masters event, had defeated Argentina's Franco Squillari in the first round.
But he found the Russian too hot to handle, going down 6-4 6-1.
Gasquet put up a fight in the opening set but once Safin found his touch, his power and experience saw him claim his victory.
In doubles, in the first round Marat Safin and Guillermo Canas (ARG) defeated duo Leos Friedl (CZE) /Radek Stepanek (CZE), 6/4 4/6 (10-5) (Match Tie-break).

04/16/2002 Monte Carlo, Monaco
Sixth seed Marat Safin recorded his first ever victory at the Tennis Masters Monte Carlo with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over rising Spanish star Tommy Robredo. Safin, who had never progressed beyond the first round in three previous attempts at the Monte Carlo Country Club, showed signs that his clay court game is beginning to come together.
"I was lucky that I won," said Safin. "Now I'm confident enough to move on and try to think that I can win this tournament."
The Russian, who currently stands in second position in the ATP Champions Race 2002, was happy to have survived Robredo's challenge - especially after an early start on Court Central.
"It's very difficult to play at 10 o'clock in the morning," said Safin. "Especially against an opponent like Tommy Robredo. He's also young, he wants to play, he wants to win and he's very motivated.
"In the middle of the second set, I started to do something new, hitting the ball and trying to move him around the court, which in the first set, I could not do - maybe I was still asleep or something."
Safin now goes on to face 15-year-old French sensation Richard Gasquet in a match the Russian knows he cannot take lightly. "I think he's a great player," said Safin. "You don't have to look at the age anymore because everybody can play tennis. He has very good timing, great shots...he's playing in France, he has nothing to lose."

04/12/2002 Estoril , Portugal
No. 2 seed Marat Safin of Russia lost to Finnish Jarkko Nieminen on Friday in the quarterfinals of the dlrs 665,000 clay-court Estoril Open.
The 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 sets were a shocking defeat for Safin, the top seed in 2000, who last weekend helped Russia to the Davis Cup semifinals.

04/11/2002 Estoril , Portugal
Marat Safin survived another scare at the Estoril Open before moving through to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-2 victory over Adrian Voinea.
The weather in Estoril on Thursday was anything but player friendly. Extremely windy conditions made it very difficult for most players to be on top of their game. During his match with Voinea, Safin asked ATP Supervisor Ed Hardisty whether or not the match should be played. After determining there was not a safety risk, Hardisty and tournament officials decided play should continue.
Safin, who needed three sets to overcome David Ferrer in the first round on Wednesday, found his game at the right time to end Voinea's challenge.
"It was terrible out there today." Safin said regarding the weather, which forced several tournament staff tents to be evacuated for threat they might blow over.
After struggling for two hours and 32 minutes to the windy win, Safin said the ATP needs to address unplayable conditions by adopting a wind rule.
"It is our job to play and we have to give our best," said Safin, who unsuccessfully asked tournament supervisor Ed Hardisty to postpone the match due to the extreme wind in the first set. "But it is not enjoyable to play in these conditions � not for us and not for the spectators. There should be a wind rule, it is not correct to play otherwise. The ATP should do something so at least we can play tennis."
The Russian, who has won two previous clay court titles (Barcelona, Mallorca in 2000), now meets rising star Jarkko Nieminen, the 20-year-old from Finland who surprised everyone last year by reaching the final in Stockholm in only his second ATP event.
Nieminen followed up his first round victory over No. 8 seed Alberto Martin with an equally impressive 6-1, 6-2 win against Martin's fellow Spaniard Galo Blanco. Nieminen has only dropped eight games in his two matches so far and will be full of confidence going into his first meeting with Safin.

04/10/2002 Estoril , Portugal
Marat Safin needed just 20 minutes to complete his victory over Spain's David Ferrer in a first-round match held over because of poor light Tuesday. Safin, seeded second, won 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

04/10/2002 Moscow, Russia
Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev denied on Wednesday that Australian Open finalist Marat Safin, who parted company with Swede Mats Wilander earlier this year, had hired Alexander Volkov as his new coach.
"Contrary to what the Russian media has reported, [Alexander] Volkov is not coaching Safin," Russian Tennis Federation president Tarpishchev told Reuters.
Earlier this week, Russian media quoted Tarpishchev as saying that Volkov and Safin would begin working together at the Monte Carlo Masters next week.
"Indeed, both Safin and myself have asked Volkov to coach Marat, but so far without any success," added Tarpishchev, who is also Russia's Davis Cup captain.
"The problem is that Volkov has some big personal problems at the moment and he can't devote all his time to coaching."
Tarpishchev added that Safin also considered hiring former Russian player Andrei Cherkasov.
"Cherkasov's name has come up as a possible candidate, but we all hope that Volkov will change his mind," Tarpishchev said.
Former top 20 player Volkov coached Safin during the 2000 U.S. Open where the Russian won his first grand slam title.
Safin teamed up with Wilander, winner of seven grand slams during his career, in March 2001 but the Swede's other interests have prevented him from coaching Safin on the full-time basis.
Safin, 22, who is playing at the Estoril Open in Lisbon this week, has hired several coaches in addition to Volkov and Wilander in the last two years.
Andrei Chesnokov and Briton Tony Pickard, who guided Stefan Edberg of Sweden to six grand slams titles, have also had stints coaching the temperamental Russian.

04/08/2002 Estoril , Portugal
Defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and Russian superstar Marat Safin are just two of the top names appearing at the Estoril Open 2002, which begins on April 8.
Ferrero, who is currently at No. 3 in the world after claiming four titles last year, will have fond memories of playing in Estoril 12 months ago after defeating fellow countryman Felix Mantilla in a 3 set epic.
After struggling with injuries last year, Safin is regaining the kind of form that took him to No. 1 during the 2000 season, reaching the final at the Australian Open in January this year.
Among those also challenging for the title this year will be 2000 Estoril champion Carlos Moya, as well as rising Belgian star Xavier Malisse and American heart-throb Jan Michael Gambill.

04/07/2002 Moscow, Russia
Russia 4-1 Sweden.
With Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin both electing to recover from their night of celebrations, Russia was forced to call upon its reserve guard for dead rubber duty in Moscow today. In fact Kafelnikov was conspicuously absent courtside as Russia went on to complete a 4-1 victory over Sweden in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal tie.
Swedish No. 1 Thomas Johansson overpowered 19-year-old Mikhail Youzhny 6-3 6-4, before Andreas Vinciguerra was forced to retire with a back injury against Andrei Stoliarov, with the score at 4-6 5-2 in the Russian's favour.

04/06/2002 Moscow, Russia
Russia 3-0 Sweden.
Russia has clinched a place in the semifinals of the 2002 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas in Moscow this afternoon.
Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin won a thrilling five-set doubles against Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson 3-6 7-6 6-7 7-5 6-3 to give Russian an unbeatable 3-0 lead against Sweden.
The Swedes took the first set after breaking Kafelnikov's serve in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead. The Russians held onto the rest of their service games, but failed to break back, losing the set in just over 20 minutes.
Safin rebounded in the second set, holding the Swedes to love in his first service game. Supported by a noisy, home crowd in the 13,000-capacity stadium, the Russians broke Bjorkman's serve in the set's second game to take a 2-0 lead.
But the Swedish team showed no signs of giving up, and immediately earned three breakpoints on Kafelnikov's serve in the third game. The Russians managed to save two breakpoints, but after a long rally, Safin hit the ball into the net at 30-40.
Johansson followed up the break with a strong service game, holding the Russians to love to even the score at 2-2. Safin felt the pressure from the Swedes in the fifth game, as Bjorkman pounded two solid returns over the net to go up 0-30.
Safin double-faulted on his next serve, and momentarily lost his composure, raising his racket high in the air and yelling. The Swedes took advantage of the three breakpoints and won the game for a 3-2 lead.
The Russians rallied, and in the seventh game, Kafelnikov saved a breakpoint and then easily won at deuce to bring the score to 4-3. Kafelnikov and Safin followed that up by breaking Johansson's serve in the eighth game, evening the score at 4-4. Safin fired off two aces in the ninth game to pull Russia ahead 5-4.
The teams fought their way to a tiebreak, which Kafelnikov brought even at 6-6 with an ace. Kafelnikov slammed a return straight down the line to pull ahead 7-6, and then win the tiebreak and take the second set.
With one set each, the pressure got to the Swedes and Bjorkman lost his opening service game of the third set. Safin held the Swedes at love in the second game to give Russia a 2-0 lead, sending the crowd wild.
The Swedes broke back in the 6th game, earning two breakpoints on Safin's serve to even the set at 3-3 and go on to a tiebreak.
Ignoring screams and cheers from Russian fans, the Swedes raced ahead and never let the Russians get their footing, winning the tiebreak 7-2.
The fourth set provided an even matchup, until the Russians broke Bjorkman in the 12th game as he served to stay in the match. Bjorkman was broken again in the fifth set, giving Russia a 5-3 lead. Kafelnikov served for the match, firing off an ace and some solid returns to win 6-3.
After the match Kafelnikov confirmed yet again he would retire.
"You may laugh, but I was serious. I believe that only two Davis Cup ties are left for me before I quit my career," he said.
"Maybe it's my last chance to win the trophy and I'm set to do my best to win it. But there's plenty of other interesting things except tennis in the world."
The Swedes, who conquered Great Britain in the previous round had previously never lost to Russia, or the Soviet Union, in the Davis Cup.
Safin and Kafelnikov's victory put Russia 3-0 up in the best-of-five series, and earned Russia its first spot in the Davis Cup September's semifinals since 1999. Russia will meet either Argentina or Croatia.
While looking forward to the semifinals, Safin had his sights set on his immediate plans this evening.
"There's an old Russian proverb: 'Once you've done your deed, relax and enjoy,' " said Kafelnikov.
"We were really motivated today and gave it 100 percent. We knew that if we won the doubles, we wouldn't have to worry about the singles tomorrow."
"The press have often criticized me for partying too much," Safin said. "Well tonight nobody can criticise me for going out. We really wanted to finish today and now can enjoy ourselves."

04/05/2002 Moscow, Russia
audio interview with Marat Safin
Marat Safin gained revenge over Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson to put Russia ahead in their Davis Cup quarter-final against Sweden.
Safin, who lost to Johansson in the final of this year's first Grand Slam tournament, won 6-4 6-4 6-4 on the clay of Moscow's Luzhniki stadium.
He dominated early on, breaking Johansson's first two service games and holding his own serve for a comfortable 4-0 lead.
But Johansson fought back to a point where a rattled Safin, known for his on-court outbursts, lost his temper when querying a line call.
He regained his composure to clinch the set, and it was then the Swede's turn show the strain, double-faulting in game seven and failing to turn his forays to the net into points.
Safin broke in the ninth game when, at deuce, he lobbed for advantage then gained the decisive point when his opponent again double-faulted.
Safin confirmed the break with a love game to close out 6-4.
The Russian then went 5-3 up in the thrid set as Johansson struggled to hold on and closed out the match on his serve, turning in an ace as his winning shot.
"I was in control from the very beginning," said Safin. "It was just good out there."
YevgenyKafelnikov later stretched the lead in the tie to 2-0 with a comprehensive 7-6 6-3 6-1 win against Thomas Enqvist.
Kafelnikov looked to be up against a more resilient opponent in Enqvist, who pushed the Russian to a first-set tiebreak.
Although Enqvist took a 5-3 lead, Kafelnikov hit an ace to regain his composure before closing out the set as his opponent tired in a long baseline rally. From there the Swede fell apart as Kafelnikov lifted the tempo of his game. Afterwards the Russian was clear where his motivation had come for the victory.
He said: "Marat inspired me a lot with his great playing today. I felt no pressure on me after his opening victory and that allowed me to play according to my plan Kafelnikov and Safin will team up in Saturday's doubles against Johansson and Jonas Bjorkman.
The winning team in the best-of-five series goes on to face either Argentina or Croatia in the semi-finals.

04/04/2002 Moscow, Russia
Marat Safin of Russia will face Thomas Johansson in Friday's opening match of the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal tie between Russia and Sweden.
Russia's No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov will challenge Sweden's Thomas Enqvist in the second singles match of the opening day on the red clay court of Moscow's Luzhniki indoor stadium, according to Thursday's draw.
The opening match will be a replay of the Australian Open final, in which Johansson outclassed Safin in four sets.
"I don't think the draw makes any difference," said Shamil Tarpishchev, Russia's Davis Cup captain and former tennis partner of ex-President Boris Yeltsin, downplaying concerns that an exact replay of the year's first Grand Slam final would benefit Johansson, who became the first Swedish champion in Melbourne since Mats Wilander in 1988.
"Everybody knows the strength of both teams," Tarpishchev said. "I think it will be a very even matchup."
Safin had beaten Johansson in two of their last three meetings, and many considered the 2000 U.S. Open champion to be the favorite to take another Grand Slam title, but the Swede overpowered him.
"We've played four times but we've never played on clay," Johansson said on Thursday. "This time will be a different game."
Safin added, "This tournament has a different level of importance."
This time, Johansson will have to contend not only with Safin but with Russia's hometown advantage in the noisy, 13,000-capacity stadium. Russia has not lost at home since the 1995 World Group final when an invigorated Pete Sampras secured the U.S. team a 3-2 victory.
The Russian team is also looking to avenge their loss to Sweden last year in the quarterfinals, when Sweden swept them aside after Safin was forced to withdraw with an injury.
"The only thing left to get to be fully satisfied is the Davis Cup," said Kafelnikov, 28, who hopes to add a Davis Cup victory to his two Grand Slam titles and Olympic Gold medal before retiring.
"So, of course, I'll be focusing on that," the soft-spoken Russian said.
Beating Sweden will be a big challenge, however. Sweden has defeated Russia or the former Soviet Union in all four of their previous meetings, and both of Sweden's top players come into the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie with ATP tournament victories already under their belt this year. Johansson has the Australian Open title, while Enqvist won an indoor tournament in Marseille, where he beat Kafelnikov to make it to the finals.
Saturday's doubles pits Kafelnikov and Safin against Johansson and Jonas Bjorkman, although both captains can change their pairs up until one hour before the match.

04/01/2002 Moscow, Russia
Russia clashes with Sweden for the fifth time but for the first time on clay. The win loss record favours Sweden on hundred percent as the nation has won their four previous encounters. The quarter-final will take place at the Sports Palace "Luzhniki" in Moscow,
The Russians will rely on the works of Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Marat Safin, Mikhail Youzhny and Andrei Cherkasov to defeat the Swedish for the first time in front of their supporting crowd.
The Swedish are led by Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson. Captain Carl-Axel Hageskog has also included Thomas Enqvist , Jonas Bjorkman and Magnus Larsson who will be replacing Andreas Vinciguerra.

03/28/2002 Miami, Florida, USA
Thursday night�s bill was exactly what tennis fans come to tennis tournaments for � great tennis.
The evening started with a three-set quarterfinal thriller between the world No. 1 Hewitt and sixth-seeded Marat Safin. The match went to a third set tiebreaker and both players were treated to a standing ovation for their efforts after Hewitt scored the close 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) win.
If tennis could always be this inspiring and entertaining, the sport wouldn�t be struggling for better sponsorship deals and TV times. Among the many international scribes who travel the world covering tennis, the opinion seemed to be unanimous that the Hewitt and Safin encounter was the best match of the year.
Without a doubt, the match was an endorsement for why players need to rally in matches and not just smack a serve and hit a volley to end the point. Many of the rallies in the Hewitt and Safin encounter went 20-25 strokes and each stroke of the ball brought about new excitement for the spectators.
On a sweltering south Florida evening that saw both players change sweat-drenched shirts almost as often as they changed ends, Hewitt displayed a bucketful of his trademark grit as he fought back to level the match.
In the third set Hewitt was at his aggressive best, breaking Safin three times only for the Australian Open runner-up to break back on each occasion. After Safin had broken to level the set at 4-4, Hewitt immediately broke back, scampering to the net to fire a crosscourt winner.
Delighted by his effort, Hewitt screamed his approval, pumping his clenched fist and jumping in the air. But the celebrations proved premature.
With Hewitt serving for the match, Safin demonstrated some determination of his own, spectacularly diving across the court to send a return just over the net cord and get the break back. Two more breaks and the set went to a tiebreak won by Hewitt 7-4.
"Marat is a tough player to play because I feel like he's getting better and better in the areas he's had some weakness," said Hewitt. "It's really tough to find too many weaknesses in his game.
"He played great in the first set, there just wasn't much I could do. In the second I felt I lifted a couple of pegs and the third set was just tough... He's one of the best players in the world, there's no doubt about that."
Safin, as usual, appeared the ticking time bomb, ready to explode at any moment during the draining two-hour, 45-minute match.
In the second game of the second set, he argued against a line call, gesturing wildly while pleading his case to the umpire. At the same stage of the third set, Safin engaged in an even more animated debate, kicking his kit bag before returning to the court.
It has been a testing couple of weeks both on and off the court for the volatile Russian, who was fined $5,000 by the ATP for verbally abusing a tournament worker on Wednesday.
Safin's performances on the Miami hardcourts have been erratic. He made tough work of nearly every match and was unable to find a way past the in-form Hewitt despite producing his best tennis of the tournament.
"He (Hewitt) is really consistent, he does not lose his mind and is always on his game," said Safin. "Without a serve you aren't going to beat this guy. He's number one in the world, he's playing great."

03/28/2002 Miami, Florida, USA
Australian Open runner-up Marat Safin has been fined $5,000 by the ATP for verbally abusing a sponsor at the Nasdaq-100 Open Masters.
The Russian was fined for launching a verbal attack on a tournament representative after he was refused a new Mercedes-Benz to replace the one he crashed.
The ATP said the fine handed out by the tournament supervisor was the same a player would receive for abusing an on-court official.
The top eight seeds in Miami are all loaned a top of the range Mercedes for their private use during the two-week event.
Safin crashed his while driving to his hotel shortly after arriving in Miami.
He reached the quarter-finals of the event with a 6-3 6-3 win over Chile's Fernando Gonzalez on Wednesday.

03/27/2002 Miami, Florida, USA
Marat Safin shut down Master Blaster Fernando Gonzalez to set up a blockbuster quarterfinal with world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami Wednesday. Safin blunted the powerful ground strokes of Chilean Gonzalez - who took out Pete Sampras in the fourth round - to win 6-3, 6-3 in their rain-delayed match.
In a battle between the past two US Open champions, Safin expects a tight contest with Hewitt. "It will be a tough match; the score is 2-all and we respect each other," Safin said. "He's playing great and he beat some great players to win Indian Wells. But I'm also playing well and I am quite confident. I would love to play against him and I think it's going to be a great match for spectators. Whoever wins will go into the semifinals and will have a great chance to win the tournament.
"Everybody knows that against Hewitt you can't stay on the baseline and try to overpower him and just play his game. That's just stupid - you have no chance to beat him this way. You have to do something else, which is try to go to the net, try to push him from the beginning of the match until the end."
Safin, appearing in his first quarterfinal in Miami, has a 14-5 match record in 2002, which includes his run to the Australian Open final. The Russian said that he was "horrible" in his three-set win over Peruvian qualifier Luis Horna in the third round, but that he was very happy with his performance against Gonzalez.
"There are some days that you are not playing really well, and some days that you are just feeling in the right way and you are feeling in a good mood and you want to play," Safin said. "Two days ago I was feeling horrible. I couldn't put one ball inside the court in practice. I couldn't feel my game. Today I was feeling great. I'm pretty happy that I can change my game in one day. "

03/25/2002 Miami, Florida, USA
Marat Safin survived a testing encounter with Peruvian qualifier Luis Horna to advance to the fourth round at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami. Safin was forced to rally from a set down - and survive a third-set tie-break - before winning 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3). The Russian next plays the winner of Pete Sampras and the one remaining qualifier, Chile's Fernando Gonzalez.
Horna, who before the tournament had never won a Tennis Masters Series main draw singles match, had his chances to effect the biggest upset of the event. But a series of lapses at crucial moments failed to keep Safin under pressure. Serving at 5-5, 30-30 in the third set, Horna double faulted and then hit a drop shot into the net when Safin was stranded deep behind the baseline.
Horna broke back immediately to force a tie-break. But at 3-4 he double faulted; on the next point he tried to surprise Safin by serve/volleying on his second serve, but Horna pushed his volley long to go down 3-6. Safin closed out the match the following point.
Despite the victory, Safin said that his game is not where he would like it to be. Safin continues to move into the net at every opportunity in a determined attempt to add more flexibility to his game. Although the short-term results may not be there yet, Safin is confident that his plan will reap its reward in future years.
"I'm not satisfied with my game, but I am satisfied with my win," Safin said. "Hopefully I'll play much better in my next match. My plan is to keep moving to the net. When I'm 26 or 27 it's going to be difficult to always be playing from the baseline. I won't have as much energy then as I do now, so I'll need to play quicker points."

03/23/2002 Miami, Florida, USA
After a tight first set, Marat Safin crushed fellow power-hitter Mark Philippoussis 7-6(4), 6-1. The Russian secured a double break at the start of the second set and raced to a 5-0 lead against Philippoussis, who, lacking match practice, was unable to sustain his first-set intensity. Safin was particularly aggressive and punishing on the Australian's second serve, hitting many clean winners and also following his returns to the net for put-away volleys.
Safin now meets Peruvian qualifier Luis Horna, who defeated 28th seed Sjeng Schalken. Horna had not won a match at Tennis Masters Series level for this week.
Safin said of Philippoussis: "He's been out for a long time so it's tough to come back after we've all been playing for months. But he will get back because he has a great game.
"I'm still not playing as well as I did in 2000, but I'm trying to get there. If I manage to get there I will definitely vie for No.1 in the world. My game has changed a little bit and I have to try to go to the net all the time and put pressure on the other guy."

03/14/2002 Indian Wells, USA
Tim Henman registered his first win in 18 months over an opponent in the world's top 10 when he beat Marat Safin 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in the third round at the $2.95 million Indian Wells Masters.

03/13/2002 Indian Wells, USA
In the second round Marat Safin (7) defeated Paradorn Srichaphan (Tha) 7-5, 6-1.

03/11/2002 Indian Wells, USA
In the first round Marat Safin (7) defeated Albert Martin (Esp) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

03/10/2002 Indian Wells, USA
Marat Safin has confirmed that his coaching partnership with Swedish tennis legend Mats Wilander is over.
The 22-year-old Australian Open finalist teamed up with Wilander in March 2001 but the Swede's busy life means he no longer has time to coach the Russian player.
"I think everybody understands that Mats is playing tournaments on the Senior Tour and that he has a family." Safin said.
"It's a bit difficult to have a coach for all the year. That's what I need, a coach that can spend with me like 30, 40 weeks a year. He could not make it for those reasons."
Safin said he would remain on good terms with Wilander -- who during a dazzling playing career won seven Grand Slams and 26 other titles -- but had no regrets about parting company with him.
"I think it was the right solution just to finish but I'm still maintaining contact with him. We are good friends and that's more important than to have a business together I think," he said.
Safin made his mark on the men's circuit by winning the U.S. Open in 2000 but since then he has gone through a roster of coaches, including Britain's Tony Pickard and fellow Russians Andrei Chesnokov and Alexander Volkov.
His friend and manager Amit Naor has taken over coaching duties for the time being although the Israeli has limited experience working on court with top players.
"I'm trying to work with him. For the moment it's going well. I don't want to change anything," Safin said.
The Russian will be in action this coming week at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California.
The $2,950,000 event is the first Masters Series tournament of the year. Safin faces Spain's Alberto Martin in the first round.

03/05/2002 Moscow, Russia
The baseline replaces the blue line when Russia stages its Davis Cup quarterfinal against Sweden at the 13,000-seat ice hockey arena, the Sports Palace Luzhniki in Moscow next month.
The April 5-7th quarterfinal will be the first time since 1994 that a tie in Russia will not be held at Moscow's Olympic Stadium, which was not available to host the tie.
Led by third-ranked Yevgeny Kafelnikov and ninth-ranked Marat Safin, Russia has been undefeated at home since 1995 when Pete Sampras almost singlehandedly led the United States to a 3-2 victory over Russia in the Davis Cup final on red clay.
The 28-year-old Kafelnikov announced last year he would retire if the Russians captured the 2001 Davis Cup title. But Sweden scrapped his plans by scoring a 4-1 victory over a Russian team that played without Safin in last year's quarterfinal at Malmo, Sweden. Kafelnikov said capturing the Cup could culminate his career.
"Davis Cup keeps me going as I want to win it badly before I retire," Kafelnikov said. "I want it so badly it puts pressure on me. I have won majors, so there's nothing left to prove there."

02/22/2002 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Marat Safin withdrew from the doubles. Marat Safin has pulled out of the doubles because he is ill (flu).

02/21/2002 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
In the second round in the doubles Marat Safin and Nicolas Escude defeated J. Ferrero/T. Robredo
6-1, 6-4.

02/20/2002 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Marat Safin was eliminated by Bohdan Ulihrach in three sets Wednesday in the second round of the $713,000 ABN Amro indoor tournament.
Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open champion and a finalist at the Australian Open last month, lost 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
"He was just too good for me today," said the Russian, a semifinalist in Rotterdam three years ago.
"It's a little difficult to play him as you've got to keep up with him. But I just did not play any great tennis and easily gave him the breaks.
The 26-year-old Czech, who had never made it past the second round in five previous attempts, surprised the world number seven with the ferocity of his serves.
Although Safin, who had struggled to beat Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty in the previous round, won the first set dropping only one game, he never looked comfortable and made numerous unforced errors throughout the match.
Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open champion, also had major problems while serving, winning only 27 percent of his second serves and managed to convert only two of the seven breakpoints he earned.

02/19/2002 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
In the first round in the doubles Marat Safin and Nicolas Escude defeated R. Sluiter/J. van Lottum
7-5, 6-2.

02/18/2002 Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Russian Marat Safin ended a three-year winless streak at the ABN/AMRO World Tennis Tournament with a straight sets victory over Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty in opening-round action Monday at the $713,000 indoor event.
Although in straight sets, Safin was pushed to tie breakers in which he prevailed, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4). Safin had been winless here since making the semifinals in 1999.
Hrbaty, who was sidelined with a foot injury in the Davis Cup first-round loss to the United States last week, played his first match since the fourth round at the Australian Open. He eliminated Safin in the opening round at Rotterdam in 2000.
"It's difficult every time we play each other," Safin said. "We know each other well. We always play good matches with good rallies. I'm pretty confident, but he's always a tough opponent."
Safin, the third seed, has been hot and cold this season. He reached his second career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, but fell to Thomas Johansson after winning the first set.
The 22-year-old from Moscow was blown out by Roger Federer two weeks ago in his opening match in Russia's first-round Davis Cup tie against Switzerland, but clinched the victory with a win over Michel Kratochvil.
Next in line is Bogdan Ulihrach of the Czech Republic, who rallied to defeat Kratochvil, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

02/10/2002 Moscow, Russia
Australian Open runner-up Marat Safin struggled through Michel Kratochvil in the second reverse singles match Sunday to give Russia a 3-2 first-round victory over Switzerland in Davis Cup World Group play.
Safin, No. 7 in the ATP Tour rankings, won in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (6), 6-4 on clay at the Olympic Indoor stadium.
Russia was one step away from the victory, leading 2-1 after Saturday's doubles, when Switzerland's No. 1 Roger Federer whitewashed Yevgeny Kafelnikov in Sunday's first reverse singles to level the tie 2-2.
The 20-year-old Federer posted a straight-sets victory 7-6 (6), 6-1, 6-1 to hand Kafelnikov, a five-time Kremlin Cup winner, his first loss in Moscow since July 1999, when he lost to Karol Kuchera in the Davis Cup World Group qualifier against Slovakia.
The Swiss broke Russia's No. 1 in the opening game of the first set, but Kafelnikov equalized in the fourth game and both players held their serve to decide the set on a tiebreaker.
Down 2-6 on a tiebreaker, Kafelnikov won four consecutive points to equalize 6-6, but then double-faulted, and Federer served to win the tiebreaker and the set.
Federer, the winner of the Hopman Cup this year and a finalist at Milan Indoor last Sunday, needed just 17 minutes to go 5-0 in the second set and fired his 12th ace to close it in 22 minutes for a convincing 2-0 lead.
The third set was no different - the same one-way traffic game - but just five minutes longer.
Federer fired 15 aces to Kafelnikov's nine. The Russian made seven double faults.
"For me personally, it was great tennis this weekend," Federer said. "I hope, next year we will reach semifinals or even finals."
Supported by a sellout crowd of 14,000, Safin met no resistance from his opponent in the first set, winning five games in a row to close it in 22 minutes. Down 1-4 and 30-40 in the second set, the Russian saved a break point with a leaping volley to break Kratochvil back in the next game and force a tiebreaker.
He capitalized on the Swiss's unforced mistakes to prevail on a tiebreaker and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set saw the same scenario - Safin was broken in the third game. He fought back in the eighth game and jumped to a 40-15 lead in the 10th game on Kratochvil's serve. The Swiss saved one break point, but then sent a forehand wide to lose the set and the match.
"It was really difficult in the end," Safin said. "I was nervous. I really didn't want to lose in front of the home crowd."
It was Safin's third decisive victory in the Davis Cup competition. In 1999 he beat Nicolas Kiefer to help Russia into the second round and defeated Dominik Hrbaty in the quarterfinals before Russia lost to Australia in semifinals.
The match was the first between the two nations. Switzerland had a 2-0 record against the former Soviet Union.
In April quarterfinals, Russia will face the winner of the Great Britain-Sweden first-round tie.

02/09/2002 Moscow, Russia
Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, playing together for the first time since last February, won the doubles match in four sets Saturday to give Russia a 2-1 edge over Switzerland in first-round Davis Cup play.
Kafelnikov and Safin prevailed over Roger Federer and Marc Rosset 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-7 (0), 6-2 on clay at Olympic Indoor stadium.
The Russians staged a hollow start, breaking the Swiss duo at love in the opening game of the match and then again on a deuce in the fifth game to close the first set in 28 minutes for a 1-0 lead in the match.
Down 4-5 and 30-40 in the 10th game of the second set, Safin fired an ace to save a set point and later the Russian pair prevailed on a tiebreaker for a convincing 2-0 lead.
But the Swiss team showed no signs of giving up and shocked their opponents, saving four match balls in the 10th game of the third set and whitewashing the Russian pair at love on a tiebreaker to stay in the match.
"Everything worked perfectly today," Safin said after the match. "And though we lost the third set on a tiebreaker at love, our performance in the fourth set was brilliant."
Supported by a home crowd of 10,000, the Russians came alive breaking the guests twice for a 4-love lead in the decisive fourth set. They saved two breakpoints in the sixth game and wrapped up the victory on a deuce in the eighth game.
Kafelnikov can clinch the best-of-5 match series if he beats Federer in Sunday's first reverse singles.
Safin is scheduled to play Michel Kratochvil in the last singles. But both captains are allowed to replace one player during the final day of the tie.

02/08/2002 Moscow, Russia
Russia and Switzerland were tied at 1-1 after the opening day matches of the Davis Cup World Group first round tie on Friday.
Russia's Sydney Olympic champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov levelled the scores with a 6-3, 4-6, 1-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 win over Michel Kratochvil after Swiss No. 1 Roger Federer put his squad ahead beating this season's Australian Open runner-up Marat Safin in the first match of the day.
Russia's 27-year-old star Kafelnikov, No. 4 in the world, took three hours to recorded his second win over Kratochvil in their two head-to-head meetings.
Kafelnikov seized the lead halfway into the opening set, breaking his 22-year-old rival's serve in the seventh game. He kept his advantage through to take the first in 31 minutes.
It was all square in the second set until the 10th game, when Kratochvil managed to break to level.
In the third the Swiss player, 43rd in the world, moved up a gear to seize an early 4-1 lead. Later he broke again to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
The rivals traded breaks throughout the fourth set forcing a tiebreak, which the more accurate Kafelnikov won.
In the deciding set Kratochvil fought tooth and nail but failed to resist the power and precision of the host's attacks. Kafelnikov produced three breaks against the visitor's one to win the set and the match
Earlier on Friday Switzerland's tennis talent Federer put his squad 1-0 up with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 win against Safin in the opening match.
Federer pulled his head-to-head record with Safin to 1-1, beating his opponent on the clay courts of Moscow's Olympic indoor tennis stadium in 95 minutes.
Both rivals started the match cautiously, keeping their serves until the 11th game, when Federer, 13th in the world, broke to gain a 6-5 lead before taking the opening set in 41 minutes.
The Swiss squad's 20-year-old leader was completely in command in the second set, allowing his Russian opponent who suffered lapses of concentration, to win only one game in the set. Federer took it in 25 minutes.
In the third Safin, ranked seventh in the world, failed to stage a comeback despite the support of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, while Federer broke early to clinch a 3-0 lead, going on to take the set and the opening match.
Federer said he had not expected to win so easily.
"I'm glad to win so easy today as I'm supposed to play in the doubles match on Saturday and another singles on Sunday," Federer said. "It was important for me to win in three sets to be at my full strength in the weekend."
"It was not easy at all to win the opening set. Marat (Safin) also had several break points but I was a little bit more lucky to take the lead," he added. "But in the second and third sets I experienced no troubles at all."

02/07/2002 Moscow, Russia
Russian big hitters Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov are taking nothing for granted before their Davis Cup World Group clash with Switzerland.
"I think they are very well mentally prepared and the guys have worked well and they feel good," Russian captain Shamil Tarpishchev said on Thursday.
But that doesn't mean we already know the result, because we anticipate very close matches."
Russia have nominated Kafelnikov and Australian Open finalist Safin to play the singles ties, as well as pairing up for the doubles match.
Switzerland is putting forward top player Roger Federer and rising star Michel Kratochvil to contest the singles, and Federer will join veteran Marc Rosset for the doubles.
The teams will meet on the red clay of Moscow's Olympiisky Sports Complex on February 8-10, kicking off with singles matches pitting Federer against Safin and Kafelnikov versus Kratovchvil.
The doubles match will be played on Saturday and the reverse singles on Sunday.
"Even though we are not the favourites on paper against Russia there is a good team spirit and we have practised well this week," Kratochvil said.
"I think we have a good chance to get a good result here. I'm looking forward to it."
It is the first time Russia and Switzerland have played each other in the Davis Cup since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"I think that getting used to the clay is tough for both teams in the middle of the indoor season. We will see who had more time, who feels better mentally," said Federer, who won the Sydney International last month.
Tarpishchev said last month that Russia had deliberately chosen clay over a faster carpet surface because it suited Safin and Kafelnikov better.
Kafelnikov said he was relieved not to be playing 31-year-old Rosset in the singles.
"I didn't want to play one of the most uncomfortable players for me," he said. "But this does not at all mean that my match against Michel Kratochvil will be an easy one. I think we should be looking forward to a very interesting match."

01/28/2002 Moscow, Russia
Australian Open finalist Marat Safin will lead Russia's Davis Cup team against Switzerland after pulling out of the Milan Indoor tournament to practise on clay ahead of next week's first round tie.
Russian captain Shamil Tarpishchev on Monday named a five-man squad, with Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov playing singles on the red clay of Moscow's Olympiisky Sports Complex on February 8-10.
Teenager Mikhail Yuzhny and Davis Cup newcomers Andrei Stolyarov and Denis Golovanov round out the Russian squad.
Tarpishchev said Russia chose clay over a faster carpet surface because it better suited Safin and Kafelnikov.
"I think the key to this tie will be which team has more time to practise on clay, and therefore can better adjust to a slow surface," Tarpishchev told Reuters on Monday.
"Both Safin and Kafelnikov were scheduled to play this week in Milan but have decided to pull out of the indoor tournament in order to have more clay-court preparation instead.
"Kafelnikov came to Moscow on Saturday and he already had a good workout this morning while Safin arrives on Tuesday."
Tarpishchev said he counted on Safin to be at his best despite a disappointing loss in Sunday's Australian Open final to Sweden's Thomas Johansson at Melbourne Park.
A huge favourite to win his second grand slam title Safin, who turned 22 on Sunday, was stunned by the Swede in four sets on the hard Rebound Ace surface.
"I don't think he (Safin) should look down on himself following Sunday's loss," Tarpishchev said.
"He is in fine form at the moment and this defeat should help him in the long run. It will be an extra incentive for him to achieve a lot more, to finally show all his potential.
"He will only need a day or two of rest and to acclimatise himself to a different climate and time zone."

01/27/2002 Melbourne, Australian Open
Thomas Johansson became the first Swede since Stefan Edberg to win a Grand Slam singles title as he stunned Marat Safin of Russia in four sets to win the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Marat Safin, who'd beaten Pete Sampras and Tommy Haas on the way to his second Grand Slam final, began the match the better, taking advantage of a tentative Johansson to win the first set 6-3.
The Russian was in command and must have believed he was on his way to the title.
Johansson, however, had other ideas and lifted his game at the start of the second set.
As the rallies became longer, Johansson's speed around the court became more telling, and one break was enough to give the Swede the set 6-4 and level the match at one set apiece.
Safin began to tire in the third set and Johansson sensed his chance, breaking the Russian in the seventh game thanks to a double-fault and holding serve to take a two sets to one advantage. When he broke in the opening game of the fourth set, it looked as if Johansson might run away with it, but the propsect of a first Grand Slam title clearly got to his nerves and he dropped serve in the fourth game to allow Safin back in.
Games then went with serve as Johansson, always playing catch-up, fought hard not to allow Safin to get ahead, and eventually forced a tie-break.
Suddenly playing superbly again, Johansson stormed to a 5-0 lead, and at 6-1, he had five match points. Safin saved the first before a huge serve made it 6-3, and then a poor backhand from Johansson made it 6-4 to the Swede. But it would be fourth time lucky for Johansson as a Safin lob landed just long over the baseline to hand Johansson a famous victory.
"Thomas played too good today, I couldn't do anything as we all can see," Safin said afterwards.
"I want to say congratulations for a first Grand Slam title...enjoy this as much as you can, eh? It is an important thing."

01/26/2002 Stockholm, Sweden
Sweden's Mats Wilander, who coached Marat Safin last year, is hoping the Russian loses Sunday's Australian Open final, Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter has reported.
"If we're going to continue working together, it's probably best he loses the final," Wilander told the paper.
Wilander said losing against Swede Thomas Johansson could mean more to Safin's future development.
"You don't learn anything by winning a Grand Slam final, but you do by losing one. I know that from experience."
Wilander won seven Grand Slam titles during his career but also lost four finals.
The Swede stopped coaching Safin in November to spend time with his family after deciding he could only work with the Russian for 20 weeks a year.
Wilander said he will talk to Safin about a collaboration for this year after the Australian Open.

01/25/2002 Melbourne, Australian Open
Marat Safin moved closer to his second Grand Slam title Friday, rebounding after a rain delay to beat Tommy Haas 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 and reach the Australian Open final.
On Sunday, Safin will meet 16th-seeded Thomas Johansson, who beat unseeded Jiri Novak in five sets Thursday night.
Safin beat Pete Sampras for the 2000 U.S. Open title and ousted him here in the fourth round, but made too many errors early against Haas.
Then, after a 50-minute rain delay with Safin leading 1-0 in the fourth set, Haas won only 11 points for the rest of the set.
Safin broke for a 3-1 lead in the final set on three errors by Haas and a spectacular crosscourt serve return.
The Russian broke again in the final game, setting up match point with a forehand crosscourt that Haas volleyed into the net. Haas served the sixth of his double faults to end the match of 4 hours, 28 minutes, including the rain delay.
At the start, a forehand volley miss that left Safin at 4-6 proved costly in the first-set tiebreaker. Haas finished by drawing him in with a drop shot and hitting a backhand down the line.
In both of the first two sets, Haas broke first, then was broken back.
In the second, two double-faults by the German helped Safin rebound to 3-3. The ninth-seeded Russian gained a 5-3 lead in the tiebreaker with two winners and cashed in his second set point with a heavy serve.
The seventh-seeded Haas, however, saved a break point at 2-2 in the third with a diving forehand drop volley. He gained the key break for 4-2 by saving two game points with backhand winners.
The rain came after an afternoon when the temperature climbed to 95 degrees, and a refreshed Safin played impeccable tennis the rest of the way.
Safin, rebounding from a back injury early last year, was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and a semifinalist at the U.S. Open, where he lost to Sampras. Lleyton Hewitt beat Sampras in the final. In 19 previous Grand Slam tournaments, Haas had been past the fourth round only once, when he reached the Australian Open semifinals in 1999.

01/23/2002 Melbourne, Australian Open
Russian Marat Safin expressed his relief after reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open when his opponent Wayne Ferreira had to pull out in the first set of their quarter-final due to a stomach muscle strain.
The ninth seed, who beat Pete Sampras in the fourth round, said he felt sorry for Ferreira but that he hadn't been looking forward to playing with the temperature into the 30s in Melbourne.
"I feel sorry but also I am very lucky we are not playing," Safin said after Ferreira injured himself in the third game before pulling out when trailing 5-2.
"Today was a present I think...I think for me it is great so I don't have to spend too much energy on the court...I can save my energy for the semifinals," he added.
Ferreira had gone into the match having battled to two draining five-set victories in the two previous rounds, and it seems his body just gave in.
"I feel great everywhere else. It's not because I'm older but obviously it's telling me I've played a lot of matches," he said.
In the semis, Safin will meet the winner of the match between Tommy Haas of Germany and the unseeded Chilean Marcelo Rios.
Rios was runner-up to Petr Korda in 1998 and after a couple of years out of the limelight, he appears back to his best again.

01/22/2002 Melbourne, Australian Open
Russia's Marat Safin has been fined US$1,000 for uttering an audible obscenity during his third round match against compatriot Mikhail Youzhny, during which he argued heatedly with chair umpire Norm Chryst.
Ninth seed Safin, who beat Pete Sampras on Monday, clashed with Chryst after the official handed him a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct when he hit a line judge with a ball during the match on Saturday.
Safin said he had merely hit the ball behind him to a ballboy and had no intention of hitting the official. But he clashed with Chryst over the incident, arguing heatedly with him during a change of ends.
Safin later accused Chryst, with whom he had clashed before, of treating him with disrespect.
A spokesman for the International Tennis Federation, which sanctions grand slam events, said on Tuesday the fine was handed to Safin after video tapes of the incident had been reviewed and the umpire had spoken to the tournament referee.
The biggest fine levied in the tournament so far has been US$2,000 against Croatian Ivan Ljubicic for an audible obscenity during his first round win over Czech Bohdan Ulihrach.
South African Wayne Ferreira -- through to the quarter-finals of a grand slam event for the first time in eight years -- has been fined twice so far.
Ferreira was fined $1,000 for an audible obscenity in the second round and then $500 for racquet abuse as he fought back from two sets and 1-5 down to beat Ljubicic in the third round.

01/21/2002 Melbourne, Australian Open
Russia's Marat Safin has beaten Pete Sampras in one of the best Australian Open matches of all time to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne.
Safin led by two sets to love but Sampras stunningly hit back to within a point of taking it to a decider only for Safin to hold on for a 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (10-8) victory. He'll now meet South African Wayne Ferreira for a place in the semi-finals.
Sampras looked on his way out in straight sets as Safin hammered him 6-2, 6-4 to take a commanding lead.
The American's usually dominant serve was blunted by huge returns from the Russian, and when Safin broke early in the third set, it looked all over.
But finding reserves of energy and producing some truly outstanding tennis, Sampras fought back to 4-4 in the third and somehow won the ensuing tie-break 7-5 to get himself right back in it.
The fourth set was predictably tight, but Sampras had to save a break point at 3-4 before forcing one of his own on the Safin serve at 5-5.
The set would go to a tie-break and it was a classic.
Sampras achieved the first mini-break and led 3-0 but Safin got the break back to trail 4-3, and went on to force a match point at 7-6, only put a relatively easy forehand pass in the net.
The American then had a set point at 8-7 but Safin shut the door with a brilliant backhand down the line, and then won his next service point to give him a second match point.
That was the cue for a fantastic rally as a huge Sampras serve was returned at his feet by Safin. Sampras' volley looked every inch a winner but Safin produced a stunning forehand pass on the run to clinch a famous victory.
"It was a great match for both of us - it was a great comeback from Pete," Safin said. "The people, they were supporting him very much ... it was very difficult.
"But I played a great tiebreaker in the fourth and deserved to win."
Ninth-seeded Safin and Sampras, seeded eighth, were the only Grand Slam titlists left in the fourth round of the men's draw at Melbourne Park after an exodus of stars in the opening rounds.
Safin advanced to a quarterfinal against unseeded veteran Wayne Ferreira.
"He came up with the big shots, the big serves at the right times," Sampras said. "It's a tough one to lose. I played well enough in the third and fourth (sets), but I didn't convert the points I needed."
Sampras converted only one of his seven breakpoint opportunities in the 3 hour, 33-minute match, while Safin converted four of his 13 chances and had 64 winners to 62. But he made half as many errors, with 31 to 60 for Sampras.
The 21-year-old Safin is now 4-3 in head-to-heads against Sampras, who won the last of his record 13 Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon 2000.
With seventh-seeded Tommy Haas the highest-ranking player still in contention, Safin is now the overwhelming favorite to win the year's first major.
"I have more experience than the other guys - they've never won a Grand Slam. But I have very tough opponents ahead," Safin said. "Ferreira, it doesn't matter if he's won a slam or not, he's tough."

01/19/2002 Melbourne, Australian Open
Marat Safin continues to look like a potential Australian Open champion after he dismantled the game of compatriot Mikhail Youzhny to reach the fourth round in Melbourne.
The Russian won 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a clash with Pete Sampras or Nicolas Escude, and join Tommy Haas and Roger Federer in the last 16.
Safin has been quietly creeping through the draw, making no fuss but playing well to cruise through his opening matches.
The 2000 US Open champion hit 12 aces and 36 winners against Youzhny, a fine player, but not yet in the class of Safin.
The elder Russian was too powerful for his compatriot, blistering groundstrokes constantly leaving Youzhny on the back foot.
In the end, Safin clinched victory in an hour and 45 minutes and he'll now wait to see if Sampras can beat Escude to set up what would be a repeat of the 2000 US Open, which Safin won in straight sets.

01/17/2002 Melbourne, Australian Open
Marat Safin swept past Belgium's Christophe Rochus in double quick time on Thursday to book his place in the third round of the tournament.
But the Russian was equally swift to play down his chances of winning a tournament which has seen seed after seed fall by the wayside.
The 2000 US Open champion, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday on the day of the final, required just an hour and 52 minutes to ease past Rochus, whose challenge ebbed away after his loss of the second set tie-break.
Safin clobbered 13 aces as he moved through 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 and a place in the third round against fellow Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
He said it was easy to think the tournament was winnable after the exit of so many top players but it was essential to keep focus on the job in hand.
''You need to have this on your mind, so you have to play from the beginning to the end, until the last point, and that is what I did,'' said the Russian.
''You still have other guys who are playing well, and young guys, you haven't even heard about them, but they are doing well and they are very dangerous. Everybody wants to do well here.
''I want to do well here, it is a huge opportunity, but we have a very hard part of the draw: we have Sampras, I have Escude and Youzhny, the biggest star in Russia, and it's difficult you know.''

01/15/2002 Melbourne, Australian Open
As attendance records again tumbled, ninth seeded Russian Marat Safin spent little time dispatching Frenchman Anthony Dupuis 7-5 6-4 6-2 in the last match on Vodafone Arena, Tuesday.
Safin, who is known for his fast serve (clocked at 220 km/h at last year's US Open ) and Grand Slam win over Pete Sampras at the 2000 US Open, dropped from No.1 in the world to No.11 after sustaining a back injury in 2001.
There was no sign of back problems when Safin and Dupuis matched stroke for stroke in a tight first set. While Dupuis made better at first serves and forehand winners, Safin countered with good play at the net.
In the second set Safin increased his tally to 21 net winners. Despite his comfortable position, Safin became increasingly testy in the final third set, questioning line calls and his own judgement on his way to a possible fourth round re-match with Pete Sampras. Both Sampras and Safin will be looking to capitalise on the early upset of top seed Lleyton Hewitt and the withdrawal of former champion Andre Agassi.
Safin is one of countless top names to battle injury, which is becoming more common in the heavy-hitting, gruelling schedule of professional tennis. Agassi, Mary Pierce and Serena Williams are some of the big names in just the past few days to fall by the wayside due to play-induced injuries.

01/15/2002 visitors selected Marat Safin as their favorite player of 2001.
Russian superstar Marat Safin tapped the honor as the ATP's Fans' Favorite Player, based on results from fans voting on an poll.
The 21-year-old blew away the competition, receiving 22 percent or 50,324 of the 228,746 votes cast on the Web site. He edged out Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten, who came in second place with 38,886 votes or 17 percent of the total tally.
American Andre Agassi took third place with 14 percent, while Juan Carlos Ferrero claimed 10 percent and Pete Sampras rounded out the top five with 9 percent of the vote.
The rest of the players came in as follows: Goran Ivanisevic and Sebastien Grosjean with 6 percent; Andy Roddick with 4 percent; Tim Henman with 3 percent; and Lleyton Hewitt, Roger Federer and Tommy Haas tied with 1 percent.
Safin, who ended the year in 11th place in the ATP Champions Race 2001, won two titles in 2001, in Tashkent and St. Petersburg. He has claimed one Grand Slam title in his career, at the 2000 US Open.
The award was among several handed out at the ATP Player Meeting in Melbourne. Hewitt was selected as the 2001 ATP Player of the Year, while Ivanisevic was named the Most Improved Player of the Year by his fellow professionals.
2001 ATP Award Winners
Player of the Year - Lleyton Hewitt
Most Improved Player - Goran Ivanisevic
Doubles Team of the Year - Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge
Comeback Player of the Year - Guillermo Canas
Newcomer of the Year - Andy Roddick
Fans' Favorite - Marat Safin
Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship - Pat Rafter
Niels Schipper©

01/10/2002 Auckland, New Zealand
Top seed Marat Safin of Russia was tipped out in the second round by Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden but Safin warned he will still be a force at the Australian Open.
"It's better to be this way, it's very good for me. I have no pressure," Safin said.
"If I can get through the first week I will be very dangerous in the second week."
Marat Safin of Russia lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the second round to Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden.

01/08/2002 Auckland, New Zealand
Top seed Marat Safin rallied from a set down to defeat Michael Chang 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 and advance to the second round of the Heineken Open Auckland. Safin was very sluggish early, dropping serve twice in the opening set before finding his focus in the second set. The players traded early breaks in the third set before Safin's awesome power from the baseline eventually wore down Chang.
"For the first match of the year, I think I played quite well, except for the first set," Safin said. "I never played a set in December so it's a little bit difficult. But it's OK, I get used to the ball and the speed. I'm satisfied with my game and my motivation."
It's better to play three sets, a little bit struggling at the beginning and then you fight and you win the match. To win easy, you have no clue how you are playing. I prefer to play three sets a little bit tough. I have an idea what I have to improve for the Australian Open after this week.
I think for the last year, I had quite serious problems with my forehand and I lost a little bit of my game during the last year. I think finally I've found my game and I'm playing the same way I played in 2000. With time, I'll be in the same shape like two years ago.
On a lighter note, Safin was chided by the media for not having broken a racquet during the match. "It's my first day on the job, give me some time!".

01/04/2002 Auckland, New Zealand
Former US Open champion Marat Safin, who finished the ATP Champions Race 2000 at No.2 in the world, will play in the Heineken Open 2002 from January 7-12.
Tournament Director Graham Pearce said: "One of the world's most exciting tennis players is coming to Auckland to take part in the 2002 Heineken Open and play in the Vodafone singles."
Safin, 21 finished the ATP Champions Race 2001 in 11th place.
After overcoming injury problems early in 2001, the Moscow native proceeded to put in some good performances in the big events. Safin made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, falling to eventual champion Goran Ivanisevic. At Indianapolis he reached the semifinals before going down to Pat Rafter. As the defending champion, he then progressed to the semifinals of the US Open before losing to Pete Sampras.
The following week he won Tashkent and then made the semifinals of Lyon.
2000 was a marquee year for Safin as he won seven titles (for a career total of nine), including the US Open and two Masters Series events - Toronto and Paris. He also topped the list of aces in 2000 with 921 and is known as one of the hardest groundstoke hitters.
Safin challenged for the world number one at the Tennis Masters Cup in Lisbon in November 2000 after good results indoors in Europe. He has been tipped by many to be a future world number one.
Former world number one, Sweden's Mats Wilander, coaches Safin and is expected to travel with him to Auckland.
It will be Safin's second time to Auckland. In 1999, as an 18-year-old, he played in the Heineken Open, winning his first round against Gianluca Pozzi of Italy before being beaten by Kiwi star Brett Steven in the second round.
The Heineken Open, featuring the Vodafone singles and doubles, will be held at the ASB BANK Tennis Centre in Auckland from January 7-12, 2002.

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