Roman Safiullin of Russia beat Brandon Nakashima of the United States 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the Chengdu in China on Wednesday, September 20. The match was over within a couple of hours, as the Russian did not have to toil much for his win.
Nakashima fought hard, but was not able to stretch the Russian much over the course of the match.
Safiullin will face fourth seed Dan Evans of Great Britain in the third round on Friday. The Russian should have gained confidence from his win on Wednesday, but should face quite a difficult task against Evans. In fact, Evans will start as the favourite to win their match.
On that note, let us take a look at two things that stood out in the match:
#1. Safiullin dominated with his forehand:
Safiullin decidedly had the more powerful forehand of the two players and asserted his supremacy in the match with it. He kept playing the shot with an angle sharp enough to trouble the American for the majority of the first set. Nakashima, meanwhile, had the better forehand of the two and won quite a few points with it.
However, the Russian was more clinical with his groundstrokes and also committed fewer errors than Nakashima. He broke the American in the seventh game as the latter moved forward into the net and was not able to return a passing shot. Safiullin then served the match out in the 10th game of the set.
#2. Nakashima could not return well in the match:
Nakashima could not earn a single break point opportunity in the match despite Safiullin not possessing a particularly powerful serve. That goes on to show the ineffectiveness of his return. Safiullin, meanwhile, converted two out of the three break points that came his way.
The Russian combined his drop shots really well with his powerful groundstrokes in the second set to maintain his dominance in the match. As a result, the American was never able to gain upper hand in their battle.
He once again got the decisive break in the second set before serving the match out. Nakashima had his moments, but could not quite do enough to break the Russian's resolve.
Safiullin won 79% of the points on his first serve, while Nakashima won 68% of the points on his. The Russian won 73% of the points on his second serve, which was significantly better than Nakashima's 56% in the match.