Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin knocks out top seed Benoit Paire to enter quarterfinals  of Astana Open. Qualifier, Emil Ruusuvuori,  upsets eighth seeded Jordan Thompson  

29.10.2020    Views: 383
Author: Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan

Nur-Sultan , October 29 (Media Release): Home Favorite Mikhail Kukushkin knocked out top seeded Benoit Paire of France to enter the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 Astana Open being played at the National Tennis Center in Nur -Sultan, Kazakhstan.

Hometown hero, Mikhail Kukushkin, came back from a set and 1-4 down to seal a 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-1 win over world No 27 and top seeded Benoit Paire in a match lasting 2 hours and 14 minutes .

Qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland, who qualified for the main draw  of an ATP tour  event for the third straight week, made it to the 1st ATP Quarterfinal of his career by registering  a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 win over the 26 year old and World No. 60 Australian, Jordan Thompson,  in just over 2 hours

Third seeded Adrian Mannarino  and American, Mackenzie McDonald, were the others to advanve into the last eight.  In the second round matches  third seeded Adrian Mannarino won convincingly against Japanese qualifier   Yuichi Sugita  6-1,6-1, while American, Mackenzie McDonald, came back from the loss of first set to dispatch former world no 18 and  Italian wildcard,  Andreas Seppi, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

In the best match of the day, Nur Sultan resident, Mikhail Kukushkin, spent 2 hours 14mins on the court before toppling Frenchman and World No. 28 Benoit Paire 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-1.

Paire continued his disapointing run of first match losses, losing at this stage for the sixth time in a row after the tour resumption. The 32 year Kukushkin, currently ranked 91, made best use of his home court advantage to score an upset win and  reach his first ATP Tour quarter final since St. Petersburg in September 2019.

Kukushkin kept his cool throughout and played a solid match, fighting to stay in the match after losing the first set 6-7(4), and being down 1-4 in the second. The unpredictable Paire who was playing very good tennis at that stage, suddenly seemed out of sorts. He seemed to lose his timing and the momentum in the match and Kukushkin took full advantage to get himself back into the match.

Kukushkin secured a break in the 7th game in the second set to force a tiebreak which he won. In the third set Paire's problems continued as he was broken three times with Kukushkin taking the set 6-1. During the match, Paire fired 13 aces but also served several double faults and disapontingly registering only 49% of 1st serves.

"I'm thrilled with my win here. I knew he is not playing very consistently at this time and I had to believe in myself that i could win and I did it today" said Kuskushkin speaking to the media after the match.

I never played Benoit before and needed to adjust  to his game. He is a tricky player ", I managed to find my rhythm late in the game and throughout the match, my strategy was to put in as many first serves and that paid off " he added

In the quarterfinals Kukushkin will meet qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland who overcame World No. 60 Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2,3-6, 6-4 in just over 2 hours.

Eighth seeded Thompson came back from loss of the first set, and took the second set 6-3. He then looked in control of the match securing a early break in the third set to take a 3-1 lead .

However, the young  Finn, who recently broke into top 100 of FedEx ATP Rankings, came back strongly with some heavy baseline hitting to break No.8 seed Johnson's rhythm. He broke Johnson in the 6th and 10th game to ensure himself a 6-4  win in the third set and a place in his first ever ATP tour quarterfinal.

"It was a good match overall. I had lost some tough matches in the last few weeks but today I used all my  experiences from these matches to get through, said Ruusuvuori after his match. I'm feeling good with my game and I like the conditions here. I'm playing more experienced players who have been playing longer than me on the tour and I am learning every day", he added.

"My aim was to crack the top 100 this year and I am happy that I have already made my goal. Surely now I will be Ok for the Australian Open ", I want to keep the momentum rolling and see how far I can go.", he said

Third seed World No 39 Frenchman Adrian Mannarino had an easy match against qualifier Yuichi Sugita of Japan winning 6-1, 6-1 in just over an hour to enter his second quarterfinal of the year  . 

The 32 year Frenchman hit 6 aces and extended and his overall 3-1 winning record  against Sugita. Mannarino will now take on   American Mackenzie McDonald in the quarterfinals   

McDonald, who stunned local favorite Alexander Bublik in the opening round yesterday, took just over two hours to score a credible 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over wild card Andreas Seppi to make it into his 1st ATP Tour quarter final since February 2019.

Mc Donald, who achieved a career-high No. 57 in the ATP Rankings, lost the first set 3-6. McDonald then came back securing breaks in the 4th game of the second set and in the 1st and 3rd games of the third set to set up his win.   


SINGLES (2nd Round)

Mikhail Kukushkin ( Kaz)  d  [1] Benoit Paire (Fra) 6-7(4).7-6(2),6-1

[Q] Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) d  [8] Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-2, 3-6, 6-4

[3] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) d [Q] Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 6-1,6-1

[PR] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) d [WC] Andreas Seppi (ITA) 3-6, 6-3,6-3  


[1] Sander Gille (BEL) / Joran Vliegen (BEL) vs [PR] Mackenzie  McDonald (USA) / Tommy. Paul (USA) 6-4,6-4

Jonathan Erlich (ISR) / Andrei Vasilevski (BLR) d  [WC] Mohamed  Safwat (EGY) / Denis Yevseyev (KAZ) 6-3,6-3

Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) / Tomislav. Brkic (BIH) d  Rohan  Bopanna (IND) / Frederick. Nielsen (DEN) 6-7(5),7-6(3),10-5

[4] Ben McLachlan (JPN) / Franko Skugor (CRO) d Matwe. Middelkoop (NED) / Hugo Nys (MON) 7-6(4),6-7(8),12-10


[2] Max Purcell (AUS) / Luke Saville (AUS) d  Luke Bambridge (GBR) / Divij Sharan (IND) 6-3,7-5

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