Safin falls to Stahovsky in St. Petersburg semis

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 either eighth-seeded Horacio Zeballos of Argentina or Igor Kunitsyn of Russia.

“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.

The former No. 1 has won 15 titles in his career, his last at the 2005 Australian Open.