Safin marches on in Thailand

Retiring former world number one Marat Safin showed there is still life in him yet as he overcame fifth seed Phillipp Petzschner in their first-round meeting at the Thailand Open today.

The 29-year-old Russian is winding down his career after announcing his intention to retire at the end of the year, and showed he is still a capable threat with a 6-2 3-6 6-1 victory in 97 minutes.

Safin has struggled for consistency this year, but will be favoured to win back-to-back ATP Tour matches for just the third time in 2009 when he meets Swiss qualifier Marco Chiudinelli, who beat Florian Mayer 6-3 6-3, in the next round.

Sixth seed Jurgen Melzer secured his progress with a simple 6-3 6-2 win over Marcos Daniel, but the news was not so good for seventh-seeded Frenchman Fabrice Santoro who passed up two match points before losing to Evgeny Korolev 4-6 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (9/7).

Latvian Ernests Gulbis set up a second-round meeting with top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after he defeated Somdev Devvarman 7-6 (9/7) 6-2, while Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan registered just his second ever win on the ATP Tour by beating Benjamin Becker 4-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-3.

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