© St. Petersburg Open

Mikhail Kukushkin saves nine of the 11 break points he faces to beat #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner.

Former Champ Kukushkin Ousts #NextGenATP Sinner In St. Petersburg

Kazakh saved a set point in the second set

Nine years ago, Mikhail Kukushkin won his lone ATP Tour title in St. Petersburg. And on Monday, the Kazakh got off to a strong start at the St. Petersburg Open with a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner.

The sixth seed’s one-hour, 40-minute triumph against the wild card was not as straightforward as the scoreline suggests. Sinner, who turned 18 last month, battled hard to recover from a break down on two occasions in the second set, ultimately earning a set point at 5-4 to force a decider.

You May Also Like: Mikhail Kukushkin: Hard Yards In Prison Reap Dividends

But Kukushkin was undeterred, saving nine of the 11 break points he faced to advance to the second round. The World No. 57 will next face former Top 10 player Janko Tipsarevic or lucky loser Damir Dzumhur.

Watch Live

Sinner was trying to earn the biggest victory of his career by ATP Ranking. The Italian has earned all three of his tour-level wins in 2019, and he is at a career-high World No. 127.

Read Sinner Feature

In the other main draw singles match of the day, seventh seed Adrian Mannarino beat Italian Stefano Travaglia 7-5, 6-2 after one hour and 19 minutes. The Frenchman lifted his maiden ATP Tour trophy earlier this year in ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Top Seeds Move On In Doubles
Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor, the top doubles seeds in St. Petersburg, eased past Ricardas Berankis and Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-4 after 62 minutes. The Croats, who triumphed together at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters this year, won 52 per cent of their first-serve return points.

More stories like this in: