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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Strong Showing Leaves Safin Feeling Confident

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Marat Safin declared himself ready to extend his unbeaten run at the Australian Open after he came within a whisker of stretching Roger Federer into three sets at the Kooyong Classic.

The Russian, who was unable to defend his Melbourne Park crown last year because of injury, was encouraged by his performance against Federer before he was beaten 6-3, 7-6.

"If I can compete on the same level with Federer, it means that you are in good shape," Safin said as he looked ahead to the season's first grand slam, which begins Monday.

"You cannot improve anything [game wise] in the next four days, so I guess I'm pretty satisfied with where I am right now.

"Today I played a pretty good match. I was a break up in the second set and I was very close to winning the second one."

After two injury-ravaged seasons over the past four years, the former world No. 1 feels his priorities have now changed.

Despite rapidly climbing back up the rankings from outside the top 100 last August to 26th, he is no longer in a hurry to prove a point.