British lefty Liam Broady pulled the biggest upset on the final day of Australian Open qualifying Friday when he rallied from a set and a break down to defeat Russia’s ATP Cup star Roman Safiullin to reach the main draw of the year’s first Grand Slam.
Safiullin, dubbed Russia’s new secret weapon by countryman Daniil Medvedev at ATP Cup, served for the match at 5-3 in the second before Broady turned the tide of the match with big serving and heavy ballstriking from the baseline to secure a fighting 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 win. He hit 29 winners, including 10 aces, and converted three of his four break point opportunities.
“I feel incredibly overjoyed by the win,” Broady told ATPTour.com after the match. “Having qualified for the French Open the year before last I broke the last-round-of-qualies duck and I didn’t feel too nervous today. The thing I am most pleased with is the guy that I beat.
“Roman is a fantastic player who beat me one and one at French Open qualies last year, so I knew I would have my work cut out. At a set and 5-3 down with Roman serving I was pretty frustrated because I felt I had improved since the last time we’d played and I wanted to show Roman that as much as anybody else. I just hung around and am really pleased to get over the line.”
Broady, who shared an extended embrace lying on his back with longtime coach Dave Sammel after the match, said that his decision to be part of Team Great Britain’s ATP Cup campaign as captain – at the expense of getting match practice for the Aussie Open qualies – had been vindicated.
“We weren’t sure how the preparation would be not playing an event leading in, but I love being part of the team events. After Davis Cup I took away from that really positive energy being around all the British guys and I did that again from ATP Cup and it’s carried through to this event.”
Safiullin advanced through qualifying at Melbourne Park last year to reach the second round, where he extended Cameron Norrie to a fourth-set tie-break.
Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez qualified for his second Grand Slam event (Roland Garros 2020) when he defeated Italian Thomas Fabbiano 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 after saving nine of the 11 break points he faced.
The World No. 155, son of 1990 Roland Garros champion Andres Gomez, won just two of seven tour-level matches last season, spending most of his time at ATP Challenger Tour level.
Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin ensured that he would make his seventh consecutive appearance at the majors when he withstood a stern test from American Ernesto Escobedo, winning 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 in two hours and 52 minutes.
Maximilian Marterer won an all-German battle against Tobias Kamke 6-4, 6-1 to take his place in the Australian Open main draw for the first time since 2019.
Moldova’s Radu Albot, who at 32 finds himself at No. 123 in the ATP Rankings, enjoyed a 6-4, 6-4 third-round qualifying win over Joao Sousa. Last year Albot made the third round at Melbourne Park.
Jiri Lehecka, a 20-year-old from the Czech Republic, qualified for his first major with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Kazakh Dmitry Popko.
Another 20-year-old, Kazakh Timofey Skatov, also became a first-time Grand Slam qualifier after defeating Portugal’s Gastao Elias 6-4, 7-5(5).