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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 November, 2004, 18:18 GMT
Safin delighted by latest victory
Radek Stepanek (left) and Marat Safin (right)
Marat Safin admitted he was enjoying a spectacular end to the season after beating Radek Stepanek to win the Paris Masters title for the third time.

Having started the season 86th in the world, the Russian has won recently in Beijing, Madrid and now Paris.

"I didn't have a great middle of the year but finally success is coming again at last," he said.

"Coming to Paris is one of the great experiences in my life. The crowds here keep tennis alive."

Safin was comfortably the better player throughout the match, which he won 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, but his Czech opponent did little to help his chances with 48 unforced errors, as opposed to 18 by Safin.

"There were too many unforced errors for me," admitted Stepanek afterwards.

I can still snap but it's less now
Marat Safin
"But Marat plays very fast from the back of the court making it very hard to get to his groundstrokes.

"I gave everything I had but it just wasn't enough."

Safin admitted that it will be a huge task to try and overhaul Roger Federer at the top of the game in 2005.

"The way Federer is playing right now is just too good," said the Russian.

"He is very solid, stable and this year he has just been so much better than other players - much, much better."

The 24-year-old believes the influence of coach Peter Lundgren, who worked with Federer until the end of last year, is bearing fruit.

"He tries to make me more focused on the court, try not to get too crazy, not to snap," said Safin.

"I can still snap but it's less now. He tells me to be more solid, try and do my stuff and even if it isn't going well, just to keep going, keep on trying."


SEE ALSO
Safin crowned champion in Paris
07 Nov 04 |  Tennis


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