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Posted on: October 29th, 2011

Sampras Beats Safin And Backs Russian's Political Ambitions

- petepage

Pete Sampras won his long-awaited clash with Marat Safin in Chengdu, China on Saturday, and then backed the Russian's political ambitions. The American triumphed 6-1, 6-7(6), 10-8 and then paid tribute to his opponent, predicting he would 'go a long way' in his political career.

Sampras benefited from an awful start from Safin, who could barely get two consecutive shots over the net. He bounced back to produce some fantastic tennis in the second set and the deciding Champions' Tie-Break in a match that ultimately lived up to all expectations.

"I played really well today and won the important points," said Sampras. "Marat wasnít on his game, particularly in that first set. His serve was way off so that made life a little easier for me and I served well. Itís good to get a little revenge (for the 2000 US Open final) though."

When told of Safin's intention to run for parliament in Russia, with the elections taking place on December 4th, Sampras was not surprised.

ďMarat is very intelligent, articulate and well spoken so I think itís great that heís getting involved in government in his homeland. I think heíll do a great job - heís good with people and people like him, and thatís half the battle with being a politician. Heís very young and itís nice to see that heís got this passion in him."

The American even went one step further. With half a twinkle in his eye, he said:

" In 20 years Marat will be the President of Russia! Trust me, this guy is going to go a long way. The guy is an international star and the future President.Ē

For Safin, it was an enjoyable experience even if he was unable to play as he had hoped.

"He served great, thatís why they call him Pistol Pete!" said Safin. "Itís written on his shoes and it says everything. He deserved the win today. My serve was really bad. In that first set I couldnít do much from the baseline, especially with my forehand which deserted me completely. But at the end of the second set I managed to get into the match. Pete has more experience than me and he played well when it mattered.

Sampras will now move into the third place play-off match after Younes El Aynaoui continued a dream week with a straight sets win over Wayne Ferreira. El Aynaoui finished round-robin play undefeated and will now face Carlos Moya in the final. The Spaniard defeated Thomas Enqvist 6-4, 6-4 in the Group B decider.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Championsí Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.

After Chengdu, the ATP Champions Tour will move on to Santiago, Chile for the cityís first ever ATP Champions Tour event, The Royal Guard Champions (November 10-13) and after that the Tour will arrive in London for the year-end AEGON Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall (Nov 30 - Dec 4).

To view the order of play and the round-robin groups in Chengdu, go to Results.

Source: ATP Champions Tour

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