Safin, Davydenko advance to second round of Kremlin Cup
MOSCOW -- Marat Safin struggled to beat Russian qualifier Denis Matsukevitch 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 Tuesday and advance to the second round of the Kremlin Cup.The 28th-ranked Safin, who only recently returned from a hiking trip in Nepal, was playing as a wild card.
"I thought he would be scared".Safin said. "But he wasn't and dragged me to a tiebreaker in the first set."
Also, top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 (7-0), 6-2 and will next face Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador, who rallied to beat Fabrice Santoro of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. On the women's side, eighth-seeded Nicole Vaidisova struggled to beat Russian qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.
Matsukevitch, ranked 422nd, was playing in his first ATP Tour event. He broke Safin in the fourth game of the second set, but Safin broke back immediately and again in the 11th game.
Safin played after cutting short his trip to climb Cho-Oyu, the world's sixth-highest mountain.
"At least I've done something I wanted to do all my life," Safin said. "But next time I have a chance, I'll try to be more prepared."