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Saturday, 3 March, 2001, 20:31 GMT
Injured Safin hands Dubai title to Ferrero
Marat Safin
Marat Safin: Sustained back injury in semi-final
Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spain) (7) bt Marat Safin (Russia) (1) 6-2, 3-1 retired.

Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero won the Dubai Open after his opponent Marat Safin retired with a back injury in the final.

Seventh seed Ferrero was winning 6-2, 3-1 when Safin was forced to pull out.

The top-seeded Russian had sustained the injury during his semi-final win over Sweden's Thomas Johansson and his discomfort was apparent throughout the final.

His normally powerful serve was significantly weakened and his groundstrokes lacked control.

He said: "I don't know what the injury is. I have to check when I arrive home exactly what it is and scan it.

"It's really bothering me. It's like having a knife in you.

"You cannot make fast movements and you lose power. I couldn't play 100%.

Second title

Ferrero said the injury made Safin much easier to play against.

"I knew he was injured and he couldn't serve, but I still had to play at the same level all the time because he can play from the baseline," he said.

"I had to play at a good level, but it was easier to receive his service, because when he is normal he serves at 190 km per hour."

Ferrero broke Safin in the first and seventh games of the first set to take the early advantage, and then again in the third game of the second set.

Safin took an injury timeout in the second set, during which he briefly consulted the ATP Tour trainer, before he conceded the match to Ferrero.

The title was the second of Ferrero's career. He won the crown at Mallorca in 1999.

With the victory, Ferrero also earned the distinction of being only the second Spaniard to win the Dubai title, following Alex Corretja in 1998.

Ferrero recorded 60 ATP Champions Race points and $167,000 for the victory.

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