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24.10.2002

Press release #6
St.Petersburg Open: Waiting for a new champion


Not later than on the fourth day first match a sensation, being the loudest for the time present, took place. The Vladimir Voltchkov from Belarus won over the No.2 seeded player Marat Safin and robbed him of the event champion's title.

Safin's game went wrong from the very beginning. He acted rather passively. Voltchkov didn't force actions as well, but in contrast to Safin, he plaid very accurately. He made Safin to fail when serving in the 7th game. It appeared to be enough for winning the set. Nothing changed in the second set but instead of one break Voltchkov made two of them. And Safin, in reply, broke the rival's serve only ones. On this moment it seemed that Safin cheered up, but this flash of activity appeared to be short. In the last game Voltchkov, actually whitewashed his rival.

"I failed today, and, strictly speaking, I wouldn't like to remember this match", - said Marat Safin being vexed.

For a pity of Russian fans Yevgeny Kafelnikov followed Marat Safin and lost in singles. One of the most inconvenient Yevgeny's rivals, Slovak Dominik Hrbaty, impeded his berth to the quarterfinal. It would be enough to say that in their head-to-head, including the St.Petersburg Open-2000 quarterfinal, Hrbaty leads 8-4. Now the match appeared to be very nervous. In the first set 8 games each of the rivals managed to score their own serves only once. The result came on the tiebreak, when Hrbaty had got a classy win.

The second set ran according to the reverse scenario. Until the tied score of 5:5 the rivals had normally scored their serves, but they both had been very nervous and made a lot of occasional errors. The match was decided in the 13th game when Kafelnikov had leaded on his serve 30:0, but lost in 4 rallies subsequently.

And in development of unexpectable day, when one sensation appeared after another, the famous Andre Agassi has lost. Though, nothing suggested a misfortune in the beginning. In the match to another Slovak Karol Kucera Agassi had confidently leaded 4:1, but then something got broken in a well-adjusted machine of the famous player, and experienced Kucera immediately took advantage of that.

- At first he had been nervous but then relaxed and caught his game and that made difficulties to me, - said Agassi after the match.

- Will you come to the St.Petersburg next time?
- I hope to, but it's difficult for me to decide a year ahead.

- How does Steffy comfort you after you loss?
- The main thing she does is that she follows my son and me to all the tournaments.

A sort of comfort to the crowd could be a match in doubles of Safin/Labadze and Kafelnikov /Golovanov, but while the Sochi-natives had won the last year, this time the rivals got a success.

Singles
Second round
Vladimir Voltchkov (RUS) - Marat Safin (RUS) 6-4 6-4
Dominik Hrbaty (SVK) - Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS) 7-6(1) 7-5
Karol Kucera (SVK) - Andre Agassi (USA) 6-4 6-4
Sebastian Grosjean (FRA) - Mariano Zabaleta (ARG) 6-3 6-1
Nicolas Kiefer (GER) - Max Mirnyi (BLR) 6-3 7-5

Doubles
D.Adams/J.Palmer (RSA/USA) - S.Aspelin/ A.Olhovskiy (SWE/RUS) 6-2 6-4
I.Labadze/M.Safin (GEO/RUS) - D.Golovanov / Y.Kafelnikov (RUS/RUS) 7-5 7-5


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