Safin admits one last title 'impossible' | sports | Hindustan Times
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Safin admits one last title 'impossible'

sports Updated: Aug 11, 2009 12:56 IST

Marat Safin's swan song hit another sour note at the Montreal Masters with a 6-2 3-6 6-2 first round defeat by Frenchman Gael Monfils on Monday.

The big Russian, set to retire at the end of the season, fell at the first hurdle for the sixth time in eight events, losing to a player coming off a two-month injury layoff.

"I'm realistic. I know I am not going to win (another title). There is no way," the 29-year-old Safin told reporters.

"It's getting tougher and tougher with each tournament. It really gets into you and it's not easy to play.

"Every match is a battle. It's tough not to choke in the important moments. But I want to finish up in a right note. I should enjoy it more. I just want to finish up nice."

There were few signs of enjoyment on the scowling Russian's face as his 13th-seeded opponent raced to a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Back after pulling out in the third round at Queens Club with a wrist injury, Monfils wrapped up the opener in 30 minutes.

Safin came to life in the second, flashing occasional glimpses of the talent and bludgeoning power that earned him the world number one ranking in 2000 as he fought back to level the match.

The former US and Australian Open champion sent a buzz through centre court when he broke the 22-year-old Frenchman to open the third set then held serve to go up 2-0.

But Monfils swept through the next six games to seal the victory, leaving Safin to walk off to a smattering of applause.

"It slipped away in the third set. I was just a little too nervous," said Safin, who has won 15 career singles titles. "It slipped away. I don't have a grip on the important moments. I wanted it too much.

"I know what I have to do but it's difficult. You know you don't have it -- it slips away and I feel it."