Safin edges past Ascione

Safin edges past Ascione


The gifted but erratic Russian, hampered by injuries in recent years and has dropped out of the top 50, was made to work hard against a player ranked 168th in the world.

The 29-year-old Safin, who has lifted the Paris Masters trophy three times but is without a tournament win since the 2005 Australian Open, saved three match points with aces at 5-4 down in the final set. He eventually went on to take the tie-break 7-3 with a forehand volley on the first match point to seal victory after an hour and 52 minutes.

Earlier, former champion Tomas Berdych recorded a 6-3, 7-6 victory over another French qualifier, Vincent Millot.  Czech Berdych, who won the indoor event in 2005, struggled at times against an opponent ranked outside the top 200.

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