Safin Wins Madrid, Solidifies Masters Cup Qualification

Posted on October 25, 2004

<a href='' id=namelink>Marat Safin</a>Late-starter Marat Safin won his second title of the year Sunday at the Masters Series-Madrid, defeating David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, following his first title of the year approximately a month ago in Beijing.

"It's been easier than what I expected, maybe because he hadn't had a really tough match at any time (during the tournament)," said Safin on beating the Argentine. "He had easy matches here. Maybe he got used to that. Besides, he had a lot of pressure towards the Masters, to make it in the Top 8. Those things prevented him from playing at his level."

Or, for those who saw the match, you could say Nalbandian folded, as he did in the Wimbledon final, and leading Andy Roddick 2-0 sets in the US Open semifinals a little more than a year ago.

It is the fourth Masters Series title for the Russian after Paris 2002, Toronto 2000, and Paris 2000.

Nalbandian has yet to win a title in 2004, also losing in the Rome final to Carlos Moya.

"Though I didn't play my best tennis, he didn't give me chances," Nalbandian said. "He had great opportunities. There were not many long points and that was difficult for me. But I'm enjoying my tennis."

In the doubles final, world No. 1s Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor won their fifth title of the year, defeating No. 2 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan 6-3, 6-4.

"We've lost a few in a row to them," Nestor said. "It's always nice to beat another top team in a big event. This is our second Masters of the year and our third big tournament of the year, we won the US Open too. After all these results it's been a great year."