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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 10:19 GMT
Team profile: Russia
Marat Safin
Safin will need to find top form to see off France
Captain: Shamil Tarpischev
Record: Finalists 1994, 1995
Route to the final: Switzerland 3-2, Sweden 4-1, Argentina 3-2

Marat Safin
The volatile 22-year-old will need to maintain his focus and form if he is to contribute to what would be Russia's first Davis Cup triumph.

  Record against France
v Grosjean Won 4 Lost 2
v Clement W1 L0
v Escude W2 L3
v Santoro W1 L6

The world number three has returned to something like his best after a poor 2001, but will be disappointed to have emerged with only one title win.

Russia will play their first tie of the year away from home in the final and Safin's patience will be sorely tested.

But having lost only one singles rubber en route to the final, he should be in confident mood.


Yevgeny Kafelnikov
Kafelnikov has pledged to retire if Russia win the Davis Cup and having lost out in two previous finals, it would be some finale for the former French and Australian Open champion.

  Record against France
v Grosjean W3 L2
v Clement W4 L3
v Escude W5 L2
v Santoro W6 L0

The 28-year-old has focused all his efforts into the event this year, with the result that his world ranking has slumped to 27th.

But despite coming to the end of his tenth year on the tour, Kafelnikov remains a dangerous baseliner and his motivation will never be greater.


Mikhail Youzhny
Youzhny was once touted as the player who might help Safin carry Russian expectations.

  Record against France
v Grosjean W0 L2
v Clement W0 L0
v Escude W1 L1
v Santoro W3 L0
His progress has been steady but slow, and he now stands at a career-high ranking of 32nd, having won the Stuttgart tournament in July and reached the final in St Petersburg.

However, the 20-year-old's Davis Cup record is poor and he has won only one match in four attempts.


Andrei Stoliarov
Stoliarov is likely to be relegated to the role of cheerleader unless Safin or Kafelnikov suffer injury or the tie is won before the final rubber.

The 25-year-old is a solid if unspectacular performer and this year has been something of a disaster, having won only eight ATP matches.

He has played just two matches for Russia in his career, winning both, but he has never faced any of the French team.


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