Roman Safiullin, the hero of Russia’s victory over France | ATP circuit
Roman Safiullin stepped in and delivered for Russia on Sunday in the ATP Cup to help guide the defending champion to victory over France in Group B in Sydney.
The World No.167 backed up his singles victory over Arthur Rinderknech by teaming up with World No.2 Daniil Medvedev to defeat Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 6-4 in 76 minutes in the decisive doubles match to give Russia a winning start in the 16-team event.
Earlier, world number 35 Ugo Humbert and the France squad took advantage of their late arrival at the ATP Cup by the astonishing Medvedev, who had led by a set and 3-0, to tie with Russia in the second day.
Humbert was rewarded for his high-risk / high-reward strategy as he unleashed a cavalcade of fierce left-handed forehands that ultimately won the matchday 6-7 (5), 7-5 7-6 (2) against the Medvedev’s deep ground defense.
“It was a very difficult game. I am very happy,” said Humbert. “I had a few opportunities in the first set and just tried to stay relaxed and focused on what I had to do. It was a great game.”
Humbert crushed 44 winners against 28 for Medvedev during the match, destabilizing the Russian, who also committed 44 unusual unforced errors, including seven double faults. Humbert was also effective at the net, winning 23 of 32 approaches in the two-hour and 55-minute game.
Humbert also won his only other meeting with Medvedev, on clay in Hamburg in 2020.
In the first game of the draw against Ken Rosewall Arena, the unannounced Russian Safiullin seized the opportunity to play a leading role in the ATP Cup, rallying from a set to give Russia the lead .
Safiullin, 24, who had the opportunity to play after Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev forfeits, raised his level of play to topple Frenchman Rinderknech 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the simple n ° 2.
Safiullin came out on top in moments of pressure, saving 15 of 19 break points he faced during the two-hour and 26-minute competition.
“It’s great to win the first game, to score the point for the team and now we are waiting for Daniil to come and show his tennis,” said Safiullin. “The second set was really close and I tried to make as many balls as I could and put pressure on him.
“Before the game Daniil said to play without pressure, just to do my best and fight for every point.”
The ATP Cup format sees the No.2 singles played first, followed by the No.1 singles. Doubles, with an ad-free score and a deciding match in place of a third set, are the last rubber in the game. ‘equality.