Tag Archives: Challengers

Mikhail Kukushkin: On his way back!

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– With his performances on last weeks, Mikhail Kukushkin has comebacked where I think he belongs, the Top-100. He has climbed his way back into where I think he belongs, the Top-100, after a R3 showing in the USO, and two Challenger wins. But it hasn’t just been a three week work, as 2013 has seen him climb from #324 in June ( his drop in the rankings was due to a combination of injuries in the 2nd half of 2012 and not being able to defend his early points from 2012 [ he reached R4 in the AO and R3 in Monte-Carlo] ) to finally #100 this week. This year he’s won 3 CH’s [ Kosice, Istanbul-2 and Izmir] , and has reached 2 finals [ Tanger and Astana]. He didn’t appear much on the main tour ( 2-4 record, plus one loss to Hajekon Davis Cup), but he performed great in the USO, as he qualified and reached R3, losing to Ferrer in a hard-fought match. I think it’s time again for Mikhail to play ATP’s regularly, and I think he will end the year around #85.

Some Facts about him:

– Reached his 1st SF in Moscow 09′ ( aged 21).
– Won St.Petersburg over #10 at the time Youzhny in 2010.
– He ended 2010 in the Top-60.
– He made his maiden GS R4 in the AO, beating #23 Troicki and #15 Monfils in 5 sets.
– He also made his only M-1000 R3 in Monte-Carlo 2012 ( beating #20 Florian Mayer).
– Is yet to beat a Top-10 player.
– Has 9 Challenger titles in his résumé.

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Daniel Gimeno-Traver resurgence

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– This week has been really good for Daniel Gimeno-Traver: he’s got his third ATP SF, first outside of clay ( the clay ones were in Sttutgart and Gstaad, both on 2010, his best season), he’s returned into Top-80, he has also entered Top-70 in the RACE to London and got a $20,070 paycheck with wins over Serra, Kubot and Cipolla. This seemed really unlikely at the beggining of the season, when he was struggling to get wins on Challenger tour ( his worst position on the ATP ranking was #137 on May). He started to play better on Madrid Masters 1000, where he qualified and reached R2 [ defeated Clement, Hanescu, lost to Djokovic on 3 sets]. He continued his comeback winning Monza CH ( beated two top-100 players: Starace and Montañes) and reaching Bastad QF [ defeated #49 Kukushkin]. He continued his good run of form in Cordeons reaching the F after defeating #69 Kavcic and #76 Volandri, and then he made Segovia QF, Aalphen SF and won Seville CH for the second straight year ( beated Robredo) before coming to St.Petersburg. If he continues this fine form and keeps playing with confidence we could see him get close to his best ranking ( #52 in May 2011).

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