ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP)—Two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin lost to qualifier Andriy Stakhovsky 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 on Saturday in the St. Petersburg Open semifinals.
Safin won back-to-back titles in St. Petersburg in 2000-01. The Russian is playing his last season on the ATP Tour and will enter his last competitive tournament—the Paris Masters—on a wild card.
“I’ve reached the semifinals and it’s a good result for my recent form,” Safin said. “I was serving bad through the entire match and I had to risk and made too many unforced errors. Stakhovsky felt it and dominated the match.”
The 93rd-ranked Stakhovsky advanced to his second career ATP final. The Ukrainian will play eighth-seeded Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, who reached his first tour final by beating Igor Kunitsyn of Russia 7-6 (7), 6-3.
“Safin was my idol when I began to play tennis,” Stakhovsky said. “I will remember this match. I have never beaten a player who had won two Grand Slams.”
Safin was playing in his first semifinal in 23 events. He last reached a final at the 2008 Kremlin Cup, where he lost to Kunitsyn.
The former No. 1 has won 15 titles in his career, his last at the 2005 Australian Open.
The 54th-ranked Zeballos is playing in only his fourth ATP event. He won five challenger titles this year to improve from 209th in the rankings at the start of the season.