|Safin's Comeback Falters Again in Lyon First Round||Santoro brings down struggling Safin|
|Tue Oct 7, 5:53 PM ET||Tue Oct 7, 6:18 PM ET|
|By Eric Saillot|
|LYON, France (Reuters) - Marat Safin was frustrated in his comeback attempt for the second consecutive tournament when he lost 6-1, 6-4, to France's Fabrice Santoro Tuesday in the first round of the Lyon Grand Prix.
Beaten in the Kremlin Cup first round last week on his return from a series of injuries, the Russian seventh seed found Santoro too clever once again -- the Frenchman has now beaten him seven times in eight matches.
Safin was leading 4-2 in the second set and had three points for 5-2, but he could not make his advantage count. Santoro, however, took little satisfaction from his victory.
"Marat is very far from his best. It hurts me to see him like that. I think he will need a long time to get back to the top," he told reporters.
Safin, ranked third in the world at the end of 2002, had played only once since April before the Kremlin Cup. "From now until the end of the year I would like to eke out one victory, that's my short term aim," said Safin. "I am sure I can be competitive in 2004. Tennis is like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it."
|LYON, France (AFP) - Fabrice Santoro scored a popular win over Russian number seven Marat Safin in the Grand Prix de Lyon.
Safin, the former US Open champion who has been out with a wrist injury in recent months, has now gone over five months without a match victory, with his last win coming in the semi-finals of the Barcelona event in April.
"That's not the real Marat out there. He's been hurt and is lacking in confidence," Santoro admitted after his 6-1, 6-4 first round victory.
Safin said he was setting modest goals.
"My wrist is getting better and better. To win one match in the rest of the year would be good. I need to start from somewhere."