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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Safin Wins at Depleted Masters

APSafin in a playful mood, scrutinizing an instant replay during his first round match against Mahut in Paris on Monday.
PARIS -- With five of the world's top six players withdrawing from this year's Paris Masters, Marat Safin and Nikolai Davydenko have a great opportunity to collect some silverware.

Marat Safin, chasing his fourth Paris Masters crown, survived the first round of the depleted indoor tournament with a 6-1, 7-6 victory over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut on Monday.

Famous for winning here every two years, with victories in 2000, 2002 and 2004, Safin was the only attraction on the low-key opening day of an event missing five of the world's top six players.

Safin showed signs of nerves after a great start but recovered to win the second set tiebreaker 7-5 with a fine backhand pass on match point after 74 minutes.

World No. 1 Roger Federer, who has never won in the French capital, said Monday that he would not be coming this year because he was exhausted.

The withdrawal of the dominant Swiss left world No. 5 Nikolai Davydenko as the highest player left in the draw.

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal pulled out Sunday with a stomach muscle injury, joining world No. 3 David Nalbandian, No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic and No. 6 Andy Roddick.

The Paris tournament suffers from being the last regular event in a long season before the year-end Masters Cup featuring the top eight players in the ATP Race, to be staged starting Nov. 12 in Shanghai.