Safiullin Breezes Past Nakashima In Chengdu Opener

Moutet, Daniel also advance on Wednesday at ATP 250
September 20, 2023
Chengdu Open
Roman Safiullin defeats Brandon Nakashima on Wednesday to reach the second round at the Chengdu Open. By ATP Staff

Roman Safiullin made a confident start to his first ATP Tour event on Chinese soil Wednesday at the Chengdu Open, where the 26-year-old eased past Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 6-4.

The World No. 55 Safiullin delivered a scintillating display of clean hitting to overwhelm Nakashima in 88 minutes at the ATP 250. He struck 22 winners to his opponent’s 17 while remaining rock solid behind his serve. Safiullin did not face a break point as he improved to 23-2 against American opponents across all levels.

“I think the most important thing was to hold my serve and then just try to get some break points and try to use them.,” said Safiullin after winning his maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head clash with Nakashima. “That was the main goal for the match.”

Safiullin has enjoyed the best season of his career in 2023. He reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon in July, a run which propelled him to a career-high No. 43 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Now 12-14 in tour-level matches for the year, his next assignment in Chengdu is a second-round clash with fourth seed Daniel Evans.

Corentin Moutet also wasted little time notching a first-round victory in Sichuan province. The Frenchman prevailed 6-2, 6-2 against home wild card Mu Tao, who was making his ATP Tour debut. Moutet will play seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic or qualifier Benjamin Lock in the second round.

There was an upset in the opening match of the day on Chengdu’s centre court. Taro Daniel downed eighth seed Aleksandar Vukic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to improve to 6-6 against Top 50 opponents for the season. Daniel will next chase back-to-back main-draw wins at an ATP Tour event for the first time since March when he meets Christopher O’Connell or Alibek Kachmazov.

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