The two have met once before, in the Rennes Challenger in September 2021, with Safiullin winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
The 25 year old Russian, who won the boys' singles at the Australian Open in 2015, is currently ranked No. 93 (career high No. 92), having started the year as No. 167. He distinguished himself by playing for Russia in the ATP Cup in Sydney alongside Daniil Medvedev, having been drafted in at the last minute after Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev succumbed to covid. Against all expectations the depleted Russian team reached the semi-finals with Safiullin winning his two singles matches, the first against France's Arthur Rinderknech and the next against Australia's James Duckworth, an achievement which saw his ranking rise 21 places to No. 146.
His most notable performance on the Tour so far this season has been reaching two ATP 250 semifinals. The first of these came at the Open 13 in Marseille, where he beat Alexei Popyrin, Tomas Machac and Stefanos Tsitsipas before losing 6-7(4-7), 6-7(5-7) to Felix Auger-Aliassime. His second came at the Tel Aviv Open at the beginning of this month when he defeated Hugo Grenier, Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Arthur Rinderknech before his run was ended by eventual champion Novak Djokovic to whom he lost 1-6, 6-7(3-7). He then moved on to the Florence Open but failed to qualify. In the qualifiers here he defeated first Jan-Lennard Struff 7-5, 6-1, then Jaume Munar 6-4, 6-3.
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