Mikhail Kukushkin stuns James Blake to reach the quarter-finals – Davidoff Swiss Indoors Basel 2011
Nov 04. Bettor
By Alexander Tyson
Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan continued with his lucky run in the Davidoff Swiss Indoors Basel, as he outplayed the former world number four, James Blake of the United States, in the second round clash on Thursday evening.
Lucky loser from the qualifying draw, Kukushkin took one hour and seventeen minutes of play to take down the American competitor in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, to make a place in the quarter-finals of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) World Tour 500 event.
The contest was played on the indoor hard courts of the St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland, with the American qualifier suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of the world number 113. Blake was the one who defeated Kukushkin in the final round qualifiers of the tournament but the Kazakh turned the tables on him this time round. Blake has also defeated him in the opening round at Winston-Salem earlier this season and Kukushkin levelled his head-to-head series against the American at 1-1.
Kukushkin displayed his brilliant tennis skills to drive his opponent out of the tournament in a dominating fashion. The 23-year-old gave limited opportunities to Blake and cashed in most of his chances in time to remain on top of the contest all the way. Kukushkin’s 62 per cent serve earned him 26 out of 33 first serve points in the matchup to come out as the winner. He crafted 10 break opportunities in the contest and converted three of them, whereas Blake registered merely one break point in the entire matchup to finish on the losing side in the end.
The American received his first jolt of the day in his very first serve game when his opponent stung his first break point to race away to 3-0 in the opening set. Blake failed to recover from the early damage and eventually submitted the first set to Kukushkin at 3-6 to trail 0-1 in the competition.
The Kazakh competitor carried on his momentum in the following set as well and broke Blake in the fifth game. The American nailed his only serve break of the match in the eighth game, only to be broken in the very next game to lose the matchup at 4-6.
Kukushkin will meet the Japanese wildcard, Kei Nishikori, in the quarter-final round to battle it out for a berth in the semis. Nishikori has continued with his wild run in the current season and overwhelmed Andreas Seppi of Italy in the second round to reach the quarter-finals of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors Basel.