Madrid Flashback: Marat Safin tops David Nalbandian and wins title

Tennis - Safin claimed his fourth Masters 1000 title in 2004

by Jovica Ilic
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Madrid Flashback: Marat Safin tops David Nalbandian and wins title

The third edition of the Madrid Masters 1000 event took place in October 2004. It gathered a strong field led by Tim Henman, Andre Agassi, David Nalbandian and Marat Safin. The Briton lost before the quarter-final to Ivan Ljubicic, who joined the other favorites in the last four.

David Nalbandian took down the Croat 6-4, 6-4 with one break in each set, marching into the final and facing Marat Safin, who defeated Andre Agassi in a match with a single break. It was the sixth meeting between the Russian and the Argentine.

Marat scored a dominant 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 triumph to beat David for the fifth time and claim the fourth Masters 1000 crown, the third with a roof above his head. Safin sealed the deal in an hour and 52 minutes, blasting 15 aces and controlling the scoreboard despite losing serve twice.

The Russian grabbed half the return points, securing six breaks from 13 opportunities and moving over the top for his 13th ATP title. Marat had 29 winners and 26 unforced errors, leaving David on almost 40 unforced mistakes and destroying the opponent in the shortest and mid-range exchanges to seal the deal in straight sets.

Finding the zone right from the start, Safin forced an error from Nalbandian to secure a break at 15 in game two. However, he got broken in the next one after a wild forehand. Unable to impose his strokes behind the initial shot, David suffered another break in game four to fall behind before Marat sealed the next game with an ace for 4-1.

Marat Safin defeated David Nalbandian in straight sets in Madrid 2004.

The Russian secured the opening set with a forehand down the line winner in game eight in under half an hour and hoped for more in the rest of the encounter.

The Argentine landed a backhand down the line winner in the second set's third game for a break and fended off two break chances a few minutes later for a 3-1 advantage. Safin pulled the break back in game six and held at love to move in front.

He gathered momentum and closed the ninth game with a backhand crosscourt winner to stay in front. Serving to stay in the set, David sprayed a forehand error at 4-5 to suffer a break and hand the set to Marat, who was now miles in front ahead of set number three.

Safin built an early lead in game two following Nalbandian's loose forehand and held at love with a backhand crosscourt winner to put one hand on the trophy. David saved a match point on serve in game eight to prolong the encounter before Marat held at love in the next one with a service winner to seal the deal and lift the trophy.

Marat Safin David Nalbandian
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