Thompson, Safiullin Set QF Clash In Chengdu
Jordan Thompson and Roman Safiullin set their maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head clash for the Chengdu Open quarter-finals by each notching comfortable victories Friday at the Chinese hard-court ATP 250.
The World No. 56 Thompson did not face a break point in his 6-1, 7-6(1) triumph against Dusan Lajovic in Sichuan province. Despite letting two match points slip at 6-5 in the second set, the Australian charged through the tie-break to wrap victory in 89 minutes and reach his 17th ATP Tour quarter-final.
“It’s tough, but he played two very good points on them,” said Thompson when asked about the two missed match points. “I felt like I was in front the whole way, I was up 6-1 and also serving to start in the second set. So I always kept in front, but just couldn’t pull through.
“Credit to him because he started playing a lot better and serving well, but in the tie-breaker I just got out to a very big lead and that really helped.”
Following Thompson and Lajovic on Chengdu’s centre court were Safiullin and fourth seed Daniel Evans. The World No. 55 Safiullin wasted little time notching an upset as he converted four of his six break points in a 6-3, 6-3 triumph.
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With his 83-minute win, Safiullin advanced to his second tour-level quarter-final of the season after his run to the last eight at Wimbledon in July. The 26-year-old is up six spots to No. 49 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings as a result of his run in Chengdu so far, just six spots shy of his career high in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Although yet to meet at tour-level, Thompson and Safiullin did meet in January in qualifying at the Adelaide International 2, where Australia’s Thompson prevailed 6-4, 6-4.
In the only other completed match before heavy rain brought a premature end to the day’s play, Christopher O’Connell defeated Taro Daniel 7-6(10), 6-4 to join his fellow Aussie Thompson in the quarter-finals. Top seed Grigor Dimitrov’s opening match against Juan Pablo Varillas did not start due to the rain and will now open the centre court schedule on Saturday, when Dimitrov will look to claim his 400th tour-level win.