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Safin into last four

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:54

The 29-year-old former world number one is playing his final tournament in his homeland before he retires at the end of the season.

And Safin has saved his best for last as he reached his first semi-final of 2009 by beating the Uzbek 6-0 7-6 (7/4).

“It’s been a long time since I was in the semi-finals, so its nice to be back playing one tomorrow and also here in Russia,” Safin said.

Safin, a two-time champion in St Petersburg, will meet qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky in the last four after he cruised past German Bjorn Phau 6-3 7-5.

Second seed Victor Hanescu crashed out of the tournament at the hands of Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8/6) in a match that lasted two hours and 11 minutes.

Kunitsyn will now meet Horacio Zeballos in the last-four after the Argentine progressed to his first ever ATP semi-final by beating Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (10/8) 6-4.

Zeballos survived all six break points against him, and a barrage of 18 aces from the Latvian, before claiming the win.

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