Sunday, August 29, 1999 Published at 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Rusedski beaten in final
On the back foot: Greg Rusedski aims a backhand as Safin triumphs
Greg Rusedski's hopes of a title victory on the eve of the US Open were sent crashing, as he lost the final of the ATP Tour event in Brookline, Massachusetts.
As top seed, Rusedski was tipped to take the title and give himself a huge boost ahead of the last Grand Slam tournament of the season.
But sixth seed Safin broke his booming serve in the seventh game to take the first set.
And he then triumphed 13-11 in the second set tie-break to claim the crown in the $325,000 competition.
My best match
Despite defeat, Rusedski remained upbeat ahead of the US Open: "Even though I lost, I played my best match of the week here," he said.
"Give him credit - Marat has great talent, and he's sure to be a top 10 player. He beat Andre Agassi at the French Open in 1998; that says something."
Safin, who now faces the daunting prospect of top seed Pete Sampras in the first round in New York, was delighted with his performance.
"The key for me was to concentrate on my own game," said Safin, who sent down 16 aces and put 86 percent of his first serves into play.
"I needed to be able to return his serve in order to win."