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Tennis: Safin seeking 2nd title in two weeks

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posted on Oct, 27 2004 @ 03:43 PM
Russian star Marat Safin, seeking a second title in two weeks, highlighted Wednesday's winners at the $1 million St. Petersburg Open.

The top-seeded two-time St. Petersburg champion Safin won his sixth straight match by beating Austrian Alexander Peya 7-6 (7-5), 3-1, as Peya retired with a right ankle injury. Safin captured this indoor event back-to-back in 2000-01.

Safin is fresh off his lucrative Madrid Masters title from last week, as he pasted Argentine David Nalbandian in Sunday's final in Spain. The big Russian also titled in Beijing last month.

Safin's second-round opponent will be last year's St. Petersburg runner-up Sargis Sargsian, a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victor against Georgian Irakli Labadze. The Armenian Sargsian gave way to Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten in last year's final here.

There were some second-round upsets on Day 3, as French shotmaker Cyril Saulnier erased third-seeded Olympic silver medalist Mardy Fish of the United States 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 6-3 and Slovakian Karol Beck took out fifth-seeded Russian favorite Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 at Peterburgsky Sports Stadium. Saulnier and Beck will lock horns in Friday's quarterfinals.

In other second-round play, Britain's Greg Rusedski held off Czech Radek Stepanek 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-4 and Frenchman Julien Benneteau handled Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 6-4, 7-5.


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