Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:53
The 29-year-old, who bows out of professional tennis after next month’s Masters event in Paris, took the first set on a tie-breaker before sealing the second with a single break of serve to book a second-round match with Igor Andreev, the fifth seed.
Safin’s countryman Mikhail Youzhny, the top seed, made light work of his first-round game, beating Kazakhstan’s Andrei Golubev 6-3 6-2, whilst another Russian, Igor Kunitsyn, beat seventh seed Pablo Cuevas 6-4 6-3.
In second-round action, the highest-profile casualty was fourth seed Jeremy Chardy.
The Frenchman lost 7-6 (9/7) 6-3 to Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis.
There were no such problems for second and eighth seeds Victor Hanescu and Horacio Zeballos who were straight-set winners over Illya Marchenko and Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr, while Germany’s Bjorn Phau was a set to the good when his opponent, Karol Beck, withdrew because of illness.