I think Marat won 3, but nevermind. To repeat myself, it takes a bit more matches than that to get a really clear picture, like 28, for example. But even 7-3 h2h suggests that Santoro was, in fact, superior to Safin, specifically.
The ATP site says 7-2, though it seems Safin beat him in the Hopman Cup, which isn't included.
In any case, lets suppose that Santoro is the superior player as the H2H suggests. Why does the superior player have a highest ranking of 17, with only 1 GS QF in his entire career?