Safin strolls past Sidorenko in his last French Open | sports | Hindustan Times
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Safin strolls past Sidorenko in his last French Open

sports Updated: May 24, 2009 21:50 IST

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Marat Safin made sure there would be at least one more date on his French Open farewell tour when he eased past French wildcard Alexandre Sidorenko 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the first round on Sunday.

Former world number one Safin, playing at Roland Garros for the last time before retiring at the end of the year, will next face France's Josselin Ouanna.

The 20th seed, who owns two grand slam titles but has never triumphed at the French Open, easily pocketed the first two sets but Sidorenko rebelled in the third.

The 21-year-old Frenchman, who has yet to win a singles match on the main tour, went 4-1 up before Safin stepped up a gear. The Russian won the remaining five games and clinched victory on his first match point.

"I'm not really happy with the way I played today. I couldn't feel the court, for some reason. It was a weird feeling," Safin told reporters.

He added he did not have any special feelings walking on to the Centre Court for what could have been his last appearance at Roland Garros.

"Hopefully it was not the last time. Maybe I have a couple of more matches in Paris. So it would be great. But I didn't think so deep," he said.

Safin was, however, delighted that his chances of facing Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, who will also retire at the end of the year, remain remote since they are in opposite halves of the draw.

"I regret he didn't retire earlier. He is old enough. He should have retired many years ago. He destroyed a couple of tournaments in my life, and thanks to him, I couldn't win some tournaments," he said in a smile.

Santoro, who will be playing in his 20th French Open and in a record 67th grand slam tournament, has a 7-2 record against Safin, whom he drove crazy in the third round on the Paris clay in 2001 to win 6-4 6-4 4-6 0-6 6-1.