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November 12, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Safin ends career after Paris loss

FORMER No. 1 Marat Safin ended his career in style yesterday after losing to Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the second round of the Paris Masters.

The 29-year-old Safin, a two-time grand slam title winner, put on a great performance on center court against the US Open champion but was unable to extend his career for one more day.

Safin, a three-time winner in Paris, captured the 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open among his 15 singles titles. He has said he will quit playing after this season.

The charismatic Russian hasn't won a tournament since that victory in Australia. His best result this year was reaching the St Petersburg semifinals last month.

"Today I will put all my memories, all my wins and losses in a small box," Safin said during a small ceremony where he received a special trophy. "Today a door is closed, hopefully another one will open."

Safin was joined on the court by several current and former players, including Marc Rosset, Younes El Aynaoui and Albert Costa.

"It's really a special feeling to see Younes, Marc and Alberto here," Safin said.

"We had some fun together. For me it means a lot that they came to say goodbye."

For his last match, Safin gave the Parisian crowd a perfect picture of his style, with terrific winners from the baseline, a fine touch at the net, strong first serves but also horrendous unforced errors and racket throwings.

In the first set, he missed a chance to break Del Potro when the fifth-seeded Argentine served a winner to level at 3-3. Safin then lost his serve after sending a forehand wide and Del Potro concluded the set with a service winner.

Safin then saved a break point at 5-5 in the second set and obtained three set points when Del Potro sent a forehand in the net. Del Potro survived the first one with a service winner but was left stranded by Safin's forehand winner on the next point.

In the decider, Del Potro broke for a 2-1 lead and finished Safin off on his second match point with an ace.

Del Potro congratulated Safin as the audience gave the Russian a standing ovation.

Earlier, Novak Djokovic reached the third round after beating Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 7-5. Ninth-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden kept alive his slim hopes of qualifying for the eight-man World Tour Finals by defeating big-serving Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 6-4, 7-6 (6).


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