The young Dane has had a very interesting time since returning from Australia. He opted to play at the ATP 250 tournament in Montpellier and did really well for a while but then was forced to retire due to an injury.
A few days after that, Rune signed up to play at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in Oslo and played on the first day, only to withdraw from the second day due to an illness.
He wouldn't disclose the details but admitted in a press release that he was feeling ill for 'a few days'. Still, he'll be on the courts in a few days in Rotterdam, taking on a very tricky player in Roman Safiullin.
The Russian has steadily improved to become a decent Top 100 player in recent years. He has a heavy game with a really strong serve and very aggressive baseline play. That makes him a really good candidate to upset someone like Rune in Rotterdam. But will he?
It depends on how you look at it. It mostly depends on what kind of match Safiullin plays. It might sound odd, but it truly is in his hands. His best will beat even a solid Rune indoors because his game is perfectly made for this type of court.
Rune will need something similar to what he had a few weeks ago in Brisbane. That's the only time they played against each other, and Rune's serving carried him to the win. He'll need that again, but with his injury and the illness, how likely is that?
I don't think it's very likely, and it's why I'll back Safiullin to get the upset here. It has an upset written all over it, especially with Rune's health struggles lately.
Prediction: Roman Safiullin to win in two sets.