Leading Russian tennis players Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov have successfully advanced in a representative tournament in the French city of Lyons.
World no.3 Safin is now in the third round. He chalked up in his second tournament victory yesterday against Australian Wayne Arthurs. It was a difficult encounter with the Russian only securing the win in the third set tiebreak, even clawing himself back from facing two match points during it, to go through 6:3, 4:6, 7:6 (12:10).
Curiously, this was the third time the two had crossed racquets on the court, but it was the first time that Safin had managed to beat Arthurs, who is currently ranked 43 in the ATP standings.
Kafelnikov, the world no.23, had a much easier ride to secure his second round berth in Lyons. Russia's most famous tennis player confidently dispatched Brazilian Fernando Meligeni in straight sets 6:3, 6:4.
Kafelnikov is a veteran of the Lion tournament. This is his seventh appearance since he first came to the courts in 1993, when he was ranked 127th in the world. He won the event in 1996, beating home favourite Arnaud Boetsch 7:5, 6:3.
The Russian will face another Frenchman, Nicolas Escude, in the next round, while Marat Safin will face either Marc Rosset from Switzerland or Gustavo Kuerten from Brazil.
Since the likes of the traditional Inauguration Day in the national Capitol are likely never to be witnessed again, take this opportunity from one who has been there to relate some truth about the experience