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Marat Safin cruised into the last eight of the Lyon Grand Prix, and then revealed he could split with coach Mats Wilander next season.

The Russian third seed made short work of Israeli qualifier Noam Okun, winning 6-4 6-3, before admitting the partnership might end.

Safin said: "Between his family, his matches on the Senior Tour, Mats is a very busy man and he can only give me 20 weeks a year.

"During the Paris Open, we will sit down and discuss next season. Maybe we'll go on, maybe we'll stop."

Safin appointed former world number one Wilander as his coach this season after a poor run of form following his 2000 US Open title win.

He gained a wild card to play in Lyon in a last-ditch attempt to qualify for the Masters Cup in Sydney, but accepts it is a distant hope.

Bad start

"I'm here to win points - the aim is to make it to the Masters Cup, but, honestly, it looks very far away," he said.

"At best, I'll finish the season in seventh place, at worst I'll be 15th. What really matters is to be in the top three."

Safin made a bad start against Okun, losing his first service game.

But it was only a hiccup as he broke back in the eighth game before cruising to victory in 69 minutes.

Safin's quarter-final opponent is Max Mirnyi of Belarus, whom he struggled to beat last week in Moscow.

Mirnyi beat Morocco's Hicham Arazi 7-6 (7/4) 6-2.

Safin said: "With Max, it's all or nothing. He can play great, but even he does not know when."

In other second round matches, Ivan Ljubicic continued his good run at the £554,000 event, defeating French qualifier Julien Benneteau 7-5 7-5.

The 22-year-old Croat, who is the surprise package of the tournament, plays Argentina's Gaston Gaudio in the last eight.

Ljubicic stunned triple French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten in their first-round match, winning 7-6 6-2.

Spanish second seed Juan Carlos Ferrero booked his place in the quarter-finals with an easy 6-2 6-2 win over Germany's Niclolas Kiefer.
 

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Good news. Dump Mats, Marat... Get Chesnokov back.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I hope he gets back with Andrei as well ... but Andrei doesn't want to.

Alexander was just helping out as a friend so that looks unlikely.
 

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If anything has been proven in Marat Safin's incredibly incinsistent career, it's that he needs a Russian by his side to play his best tennis. He can relate to Chesnokov and Volkov. His next coach should be Russian. If Wilander can only give him 20 weeks a year, it's time to say goodbye to Mats. By the way, how do you say goodbye in Russian?
 

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Thanks Nina! By the way, are you the Russian junior player Nina...oh well, we've been down that road before on the other board!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Marat won again 2-6 6-4 6-4 .... a shaky start but in the end he fought through.

20 pts here now (less the 5 he has to drop) means 15 pts gained so far

reportMarat Safin produced a fiery performance as he fought back to beat Max Mirnyi, of Belarus, 2-6 6-4 6-4 to reach the last four of the Lyon Grand Prix.
The number three seed beat Mirnyi in the first round of the Kremlin Cup last week, but a repeat looked unlikely when the Russian made a poor start.

"Today, there is no part of my game I can be very happy about," said Safin. "I did not serve well as my double faults showed. But I fought hard."


Safin conceded the opening set with a double fault, which only added to his frustration as Mirnyi dominated on serve.
But despite several familiar outbursts, Safin kept his game together sufficiently to level the match in the second set.

Mirnyi could not take advantage of his opponent's lack of composure and Safin made the decisive break in the seventh game of the final set.

The former US Open champion closed out the match with his next two service games.

"It's very hard to play against players who serve and volley all the time," said Safin. "It's hard to keep focused.

"Right now my confidence is not as good as it was last season and I feel much worse.

"Last year I had the impression that nothing could happen to me. This year I feel I can lose this sort of match."
 

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IMO, the greatest enemy of Marat is himself but I guess looking for a new coach is good move 'coz he needs somebody who could motivate him best. <IMG SRC="smilies/angel.gif" border="0">

Is it not possible for him to get Brad Gilbert's services???? <IMG SRC="smilies/rolleyes.gif" border="0">
 

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did anyone else catch what he said about max mirnyi? after their match in the kremlin cup safin called max the immature one. this is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo funny. max the good guy and safin the terribly bad tempered guy and safin's calling max immature
 
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