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Thailand Open: Safin stumbles

September 23, 2008 22:35 IST

Russian seventh-seed Marat Safin tumbled out in the first round of the Thailand Open on Tuesday following a 6-4, 7-6 defeat by German Philipp Petzschner.

The former US and Australian Open winner fell at the first hurdle in one of his favourite tournaments, handing the pacy Petzschner the first set and coming out on the wrong end of the deciding tiebreak.

"I didn't feel comfortable on court," Safin told reporters. "Unfortunately, I didn't win, the other guy was better than me."

Petzschner, ranked 131st, said the win was one of the biggest of his career.

"He was my idol, I watched him win the Australian Open," he said. "He's a great guy, a little crazy.

"I didn't miss many today and served really good...I played smart."

Sixth-seed Robin Soderling advanced to the second round after overpowering Pakistan's Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi 6-2, 6-4, while 2007 finalist Benjamin Becker made an early exit after losing to Czech Lukas Dlouhy 6-4, 7-6.

Soderling served up 14 aces and took just over an hour to get past qualifier Qureshi, who struggled with the Swede's powerful returns throughout the match.

Soderling said he expected to feel rusty having not played since losing in the opening round of the US Open last month.

"It's always tough to play the first round in every tournament," he told reporters.

"I was training at home and feel well prepared for indoor season. It's nice to play again."

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