Broady Upsets Safiullin To Qualify For Australian Open
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.
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.