Thompson, Safiullin Through To Last Eight At Chengdu Open

Jordan Thompson (photo: Chengdu Open)

CHENGDU, September 22, 2023 (Press Release)

Two singles second round matches were completed at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre before play was called off due to rain this evening, postponing number three seed Grigor Dimitrov’s Chengdu Open 2023 debut.

In the day’s first match on Centre Court, Aussie Jordan Thompson continued his strong form here in Chengdu with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) victory over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic in one hour and 28 minutes to move into his fourth Tour-level quarterfinal of the year.

The 29-year-old was in fine serving form, hitting nine aces against Lajovic to add to the 13 he notched in the first round against compatriot Max Purcell, and did not face a single break point during today’s match.

“I’m feeling good. I think I played better today, especially at the start. I played really clean and I served really well. I served extremely well yesterday as well, so it’s against two different returners now, which plays a huge factor. I’m happy with the way I’m playing, hopefully I can keep going forward,” said the Aussie.

Meanwhile, Roman Safiullin put on a strong performance on Centre Court to upset tournament fourth seed Daniel Evans of Great Britain 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 23 minutes, moving into his second quarterfinal of the year.

The former junior world No.2, who reached a career high of No.43 after his run into the Wimbledon quarterfinal earlier this year, was efficient in taking his chances when they came, converting four of six break points, and held his nerve in the important moments to save three of the four break points he faced.

“I’m happy to win because Evans is not an easy opponent and he’s a top thirty player. I’m improving slowly step by step, so hopefully I will be better and better with each tournament. It’s my second time in Chengdu, and I have spent a lot of time in China for Challengers, so I’m feeling good here,” said the 26-year-old.

Safiullin faces Thompson in the last eight, and will be looking for redemption after his defeat to the Australian in the qualifying rounds of the Adelaide International 2 at the start of the year.

“Jordan and I played this year at the beginning of the year. I lost to him in straight sets so I will make some corrections and try to beat him this time,” added the world No. 55.

In the only other singles second round match that was played today, in-from Christopher O’Connell, currently at a career high of No. 53 after winning the Road to the Rolex Shanghai Masters Challenger event earlier this month, moved past Japan’s Taro Daniel 7-6 (12-10), 6-4 to make his sixth Tour-level quarterfinal of the season.

In the only doubles match completed today, the Portuguese-French pair of Nuno Borges and Arthur Rinderknech defeated Columbian-Swedish duo Nicolas Barrientos and Andre Goransson 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) to make the last eight.

All the tournament’s top three seeds are scheduled to commence their campaigns on Centre Court tomorrow, with the postponed match between Dimitrov and Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas kicking things off on Centre Court at 1pm.

Next up, Italian Lorenzo Musetti, the singles second seed, will make his Chengdu Open debut against Australian qualifier Philip Sekulic, who is fresh off his maiden Tour-level win against Borges in the first round.

While 21-year-old world No. 18 Musetti is ranked significantly higher than the 20-year-old World No. 325 Sekulic, the Australian’s recent good form makes this a fascinating match-up between two rising stars.

In tomorrow night’s featured Centre Court match, top seeded Alexander Zverev is set to make his much-anticipated debut here in Chengdu, taking on 24-year-old qualifier Pavel Kotov for the first time on tour.

The former World No. 2, a ranking he held last in August last year, returned from injury in January and has steadily improved his form over the season. He recorded impressive results in his last two tournaments, defeating World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev en route to the semifinals of the Cincinnati Masters, and made the quarterfinals of the US Open earlier this month to break back into the Top 10.

On Court 2, seventh seed Serb Miomir Kecmanovic has a fascinating second round encounter with Corentin Moutet, with the Frenchman being forced to retire in their previous encounter on the hard courts of Naples last year. Meanwhile, US-American Marcos Giron will take on another Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech, with the 30-year-old Giron prevailing in their only previous Tour-level meeting at Metz in 2021.

In doubles, the three remaining first round matches is scheduled for tomorrow, along with two quarterfinal clashes featuring top seeds Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul of France meeting Aussie John Peers and Safiullin, as well as fourth seeds Julian Cash and Robert Galloway taking on Borges and Rinderknech.