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.

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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