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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Tumble in Masters First Round

CINCINNATI -- Marat Safin became the highest ranked player to be eliminated from the Cincinnati Masters on Monday, losing his first-round match 7-6, 6-2 to Britain's Greg Rusedski.

Safin's surprising loss came on a day when Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Roger Federer also fell to lower ranked opponents and Andre Agassi needed to dig deep for his win.

After an edgy first set in which neither player earned a break point, the second seeded Russian wasted three set points in the tiebreaker before going down 9-7 and was broken in the opening game of the second set as his frustration got the better of him.

"It was terrible ... bad," said a disconsolate Safin afterward.

"I didn't have my form and I lost my game.

"I was just playing bad and I have no confidence. It's really sad that the train is going away and I can't jump on it."

Rusedski's serve was unstoppable throughout and he made the most of the lightening fast courts in Cincinnati, sending one delivery down at 217 kilometers per hour.

The Russian could do little to combat the onslaught and was often left holding his arms out in despair.

He allowed his frustration to boil over once more late in the second set, as Rusedski notched up a second break of serve for a 5-2 lead.

Rusedski served out the match and now faces Tommy Robredo, who came from a set down to outlast marathon man Todd Martin 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.

"He does show his emotion, that's his personality but sometimes he'll get really upset and then all of a sudden come up with great shots. He can go up and down," said Rusedski.

Earlier, Agassi survived a mild scare before edging out Morocco's Younes El Aynaoui 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in their first-round match of the $2.95 million event.

"Today boiled down to a couple of simple games," Agassi said.

The sixth seed won the last event he played in -- the Mercedes Benz Cup in Los Angeles two weeks ago -- but missed last week's Canadian Masters in Toronto with hip and back trouble.

The American showed no ill-effects of his layoff against El Aynaoui and won the first set at a canter despite the blistering heat. Although his serve faltered at 4-5 down in the second set to allow El Aynaoui to level the match, the American accelerated away with an early, decisive break of serve in the third.

Two big names fell in the space of an hour.

Fifth seed Kafelnikov fell to an ignominious defeat, beaten 6-3, 6-2 by Germany's Rainer Sch?ttler.

World No. 14 Federer was also knocked out after running into trouble against talented Croatian Ivan Ljubicic, losing 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the hardcourt event.

The temperature hit 30 degrees Celsius and the heavy, humid air made life difficult for both men, but Kafelnikov refused to blame the stifling conditions on court for his loss.

"I wouldn't blame it on the weather conditions today," he said.

"I think just in general my performance must be better. I am disappointed."

Federer made a bright start to his match against Ljubicic but was unable to maintain the momentum.

Although he won the Hamburg Masters in May, Federer has been struggling with his form in recent weeks.

His defeat to Ljubicic was his second first-round loss in a row. He was beaten by eventual champion Guillermo Canas in the Masters event in Toronto last week.

Ljubicic now moves on to a second-round clash with Wimbledon semifinalist Xavier Malisse after the Belgian battled past Julien Boutter 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.