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Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Sunday, 14 September 2008 15:40 UK

Safin pulls out of Davis Cup tie

Marat Safin
Safin is hoping to improve on his current world ranking of 39

Marat Safin has withdrawn from Russia's Davis Cup semi-final with Argentina to focus on improving his world ranking.

The former world number one is due to play in the Thailand Open immediately after the 19-21 September tie.

Safin, 28, is hoping to move up from his current ranking of 39 with a good showing in Thailand and says playing in Buenos Aires will hamper his chances.

"Safin needs to keep getting points before the end of the year," said a statement on his official website.

"He feels the trip from Buenos Aires to Bangkok would be very long and tiring."

Russia are chasing their third Davis Cup victory after wins in 2002 and 2006, while last year they were beaten finalists.

Safin also pulled out of the 2007 final after a poor season, having won the deciding rubber the year before.

Russia are already without 2002 hero Mikhail Youzhny, who is missing after failing to regain top form since missing the US Open with a neck injury.

That leaves their fate in the hands of world number six Nikolay Davydenko, 20th-ranked Igor Andreev, Dmitry Tursunov (26) and Igor Kunitsyn, who is ranked 76 in the world.

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