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Russia`s Safin seeks to reach new heights in Himalayas


Russia`s Marat Safin will bid to scale the world`s sixth highest mountain, giving the former world number one a fresh challenge which looks set to rule him out of this month`s Davis Cup semi-final against Germany.

Safin is part of an eight-member Russian expedition which is due to leave Nepal on Friday to climb Cho Oyu, the 8,201-metre (26,906 ft) mountain on the Nepal-Tibet border, a Nepalese hiking official told Reuters.

"This is an interesting climb but he has (had) very good physical exercise," Ang Tshering Sherpa, chief of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said on Thursday.

"He is young and energetic although the climb is challenging. I`m hopeful he will succeed," said the official, who also heads Asian Trekking, the agency providing logistic support to the expedition.

He said the expedition was expected to last over a month, which is also likely to rule Safin out of the Mumbai Open starting on September 24, a day after the Davis Cup tie.

Expedition leader Alexander Abramov said a successful attempt would add to the stature of the two-time grand slam winner.

"Hopefully to his many victories in tennis, Marat will add one more victory on the sixth highest mountain in the world," Abramov was quoted as saying on a mountaineering Web site.

Safin, who won the Australian Open title in 2005, has struggled with form and injuries since that triumph and his last match was a second round loss at this year`s U.S. Open.

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