Match Report

Paul Earns First Two-Set Comeback At US Open

American will next play 21st seed Davidovich Fokina
August 31, 2023
Tommy Paul hits 43 winners in a five-set victory over Roman Safiullin on Wednesday at the US Open.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Tommy Paul hits 43 winners in a five-set victory over Roman Safiullin on Wednesday at the US Open. By ATP Staff

Tommy Paul accomplished something he had never done before on Wednesday at Flushing Meadows.

The 14th seed rallied from two sets down for the first time, surging past Roman Safiullin 3-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 in three hours and 12 minutes to reach the third round of the US Open for the second consecutive year.

"It was so much fun. I didn't really give them too much to cheer for the first two sets. I know I could feel it. Everyone was getting a little frustrated. I was getting frustrated. I wanted to give people something to cheer about," Paul said. "After the second, I knew... it wasn't a highlight reel kind of day. I was like, 'I'll give them something to cheer about with just extending points and heart for the rest of the match.'

"I think that's really what got me through, along with everyone there was really cheering for me."

Entering the season’s final major in 2022, Paul was 0-4 at the tournament. But he has now won four matches in New York over the past two editions. Against Safiullin he won just one more point (130-129), but his 43 winners were enough to move on.

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Four of the American’s five US Open matches since the start of last year’s tournament have gone to five sets. He has already played a five-setter this year against his next opponent, 21st seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The Spaniard maintained his good form with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 triumph against Argentine Juan Manuel Cerundolo. Davidovich Fokina recently made an ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Toronto.

Paul leads the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series 2-0, with both of those wins coming on hard courts this year, in Melbourne and Miami.

"We had two battles, one in Australia and one in Miami," Davidovich Fokina said. "He's like a runner. He likes a marathon. He's a very good guy outside the court. I'm joking with him inside. On court he's like a beast because he's very good."

Did You Know?
Paul is in 12th place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. The American is trying to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.

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