ATP Brisbane: Holger Rune battles and wins. Safiullin edges Popyrin

Roman Safiullin defended five match points against Alexei Popyrin

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Brisbane: Holger Rune battles and wins. Safiullin edges Popyrin
© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Wednesday's action in Brisbane saw five singles matches, with four players advancing into the quarter-final. Only three seeds have reached the last 16, including the top-ranked player, Holger Rune. Ugo Humbert and Alex Michelsen wrapped up the first-round action, with the Frenchman scoring a 6-4, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 35 minutes.

The Frenchman dropped ten points behind the initial shot, defending both break points in his only challenging service game and keeping the pressure on the other side. Michelsen got broken in the first game of each set, failing to erase the deficit and prolong the battle.

The American squandered a 40-15 lead in the encounter's initial game and got broken for an early setback. Humbert denied two break points in the sixth game, moving 4-2 in front and holding at love in game ten for 6-4 and a boost.

Ugo barely dropped a point behind the initial shot in the second set, challenging his opponent to follow that pace. Like in the opener, Alex lost serve in the first game and never got a chance to erase the deficit, with Ugo sailing over the top with five commanding holds by his name.

The top seed Holger Rune battled past Alexander Shevchenko 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in two hours and 27 minutes, raising his level in the decider and entering the last eight. The top seed fired 12 aces and outplayed his rival behind the second serve.

The Dane defended five out of six break points and grabbed three breaks from ten opportunities, a couple in the deciding set. Shevchenko stayed in touch with Rune in the shortest exchanges, and the young gun earned his victory in the mid-range ones.

They embraced break points and many deuces in the opening three games, and the servers stayed unbroken. Rune played against two break points in the sixth game, denying them with fine hitting and net rushings. Shevchenko squandered a game point in the next one and netted a routine backhand to fall 4-3 behind.

Alexei Popyrin, Brisbane 2024© Bradley Kanaris / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Holger cemented the advantage with a hold at 15 in game eight and earned a set point on the return at 5-3 after a volley winner.

The Russian denied it with a powerful serve and held to prolong the action. The top seed served for the set in game ten and held at 15 for 6-4 after 53 minutes. Alexander bounced back in the second set, producing a clinic behind the initial shot and delivering six comfortable holds.

Rune saved a break point in the fourth game and served well to follow the rival's pace. Shevchenko fired a crafty forehand winner in the 11th game, forging his sixth advantage and preparing an assault on the return. Holger squandered two game points at 5-6 and got broken after Alexander's running forehand crosscourt winner that introduced a decider after an hour and 44 minutes.

Holger made a fresh start and broke in the first game when his rival placed a forehand long. The Dane held at love and cemented his position with another return game that propelled him 3-0 in front.

Holger Rune and Roman Safiullin are through into the Brisbane quarter-final.

Shevchenko avoided a bagel after saving two break points in the fifth game, ending his downfall and reducing the deficit.

However, Holger held at love in game six and served for the victory at 5-2. Rune denied a break point with a service winner and moved over the top after Alexandre's backhand error. The home favorite Alexei Popyrin missed a massive chance of reaching the last eight.

The Aussie led 5-2 in the final set against Roman Safiullin, wasting five match points in two return games and falling 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 after two hours and 54 minutes! The Russian stayed composed and fended off all the challenges, overcoming a massive deficit and sealing the deal with a reliable performance in the deciding tie break.

Roman fired 23 aces and outplayed Alexei behind the second serve. Safiullin impressed by defending 13 out of 14 break points and grabbed two breaks from nine chances. Popyrin served well in the opening set, delivering six fine holds and creating five break opportunities.

Safiullin saved them and introduced a tie break, with two rivals turning it into a cracker. The Russian squandered four set points and kept the Aussie in contention. Alexei fired a booming serve at 9-9 for his second set point and converted it when Roman netted a routine forehand, stealing the opener after 64 minutes.

Safiullin made a fresh start in the second set and broke his rival in the first game after Popyrin's wayward forehand. The Russian delivered two holds at love and missed more return chances in game three. Alexei saved another break point in the seventh game, but his return game was not there, allowing Roman to wrap up the set with an ace at 5-4.

The Aussie raised his level behind the initial shot in the final set and grabbed a break at 2-1 after the Russian's costly double fault.

Roman Safiullin, Brisbane 2024© Bradley Kanaris / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Popyrin served well in games five and seven, forging a 5-2 advantage and looking good to bring the victory home in the next ten minutes.

Safiullin played against three match points on serve in game eight, denying them with winners and staying alive. Alexei served for the victory at 5-3 and struggled, facing four break points and losing serve after Roman's sharp return.

The Russian reduced the deficit and held at love in game ten for 5-5. Popyrin erased a break point in game 11 with a forehand winner and created two match points on the return in the next one. Safiullin denied them and held for 6-6 and a massive boost.

The Russian won all five points behind the initial shot in the tie break and earned a mini-break at 2-2 with a forehand down the line return winner. Alexei placed a forehand long in the ninth point, falling 6-3 behind and offering Roman three match points. Safiullin seized the first after the rival's loose backhand, celebrating a massive turnaround and moving through.

Holger Rune Roman Safiullin Alexei Popyrin