Paris Masters: Safin beats Soderling

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Three-time champion Marat Safin came from a set down to beat Robin Soderling 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the second round of the Paris Masters.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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The Paris Masters is usually a good tournament for Marat Safin. The Russian has won the event three times, but on Tuesday he was made to work hard to progress against the 18th seed Robin Soderling of Sweden. In fact it was the Swede who took the first set by six games to three and he then found himself with a chance to move to 4-2 ahead in the second. Safin, however, is not a former world number one for nothing. He rallied to break his opponent in his next two service games and soon levelled the match by taking the second set 6-3. Safin now had his confidence back whilst Soderling lost his. The Swede made several unforced errors, and went on to lose his serve to go 3-2 down in the final set. Soderling then failed to make the most of two break points in the next game which allowed Safin to hold for a 4-2 advantage. The Russian went on to serve out for match, taking the third set 6-4. Safin will now meet either local favourite Richard Gasquet, who beat him last week in Lyon, or Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka. Afterwards the Russian said there was still a long way to go before he can claim a fourth title in the French capital. "Well for me of course I would love to do that but I have to play some tough guys on the way and Soderling is one of them, he is playing just great tennis and he pushed me to the limit and he is in great shape. I was a little bit lucky, I think it was probably my best match of this year and I am happy to go through and finally have found my game and hope to continue in this way and to maintain this level of the game," said Safin. In other matches on Tuesday, Julien Benneteau faced Fabrice Santoro in the battle of the French players. It turned out to be a hard-fought first round match but in the end Benneteau just had the edge, taking the match in three sets 5-7 6-3 7-6 (5). One Frenchman making a short-lived appearance on home soil was Gael Monfils. The youngster went down 7-5 6-4 to Igor Andreev of Russia in their first round clash. (AP)

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