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Safin is back..
Russian giant Marat Safin broke through for his first tournament singles win in almost nine months with a straight sets victory over Frenchman Fabrice Santoro in the Hopman Cup international mixed teams tennis tournament at the Burswood Dome here on Monday. Safin defeated Santoro 6-3 6-3 to record his first win since the semi-finals of an international tournament in Barcelona last April. For the injury-hampered Russian, who saw his world ranking drop below 50 last year for the first time since 1997, the result was a great relief. "My rank dropped to 77 so it was a difficult time," Safin said. "I'm fit again. It's good to be back here. It was a good win for me against Fabrice because my score against him is 1-7 to him. It's a big win for me." But despite Safin's efforts, the French combination of Santoro and Amelie Mauresmo proved to strong for Russia, clinching their opening tie 2-1 in Group A of the $750 000 tournament. Mauresmo won her singles tie 6-2 7-6 (7/2) against Anastasia Myskina before the French pair took out the mixed doubles 6-3 6-4. The powerfully-built, 1.98 meter tall Safin suffered from ligament damage to his left wrist throughout 2003, forcing him to withdraw from numerous tournaments and eventually play only 14 for the year. He said he had rested enough over the last six months and was using the Hopman Cup tournament as a lead-in to the Australian Open because its round-robin format guaranteed him at least three matches.
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