Kukushkin Continues Good Run Of Form At Tenerife Challenger

Mikhail Kukushkin (photo: Daniele Combi/MEF Tennis Events)

GUIA DE ISORA, January 18, 2024

Two players from Kazakhstan headlined Thursday’s second-round action at the Tenerife Challenger 1. Mikhail Kukushkin and Denis Yevseyev both advanced to the stage of the final eight on an atypical day at the Abama Tennis Academy in Guia de Isora, as matches started with a delay of several hours due to rain in the morning.

Veteran Kukushkin wasn’t bothered by that and defeated Geoffrey Blancaneaux from France 7-6(4), 7-6(5). The 36-year-old former World No. 39 withstood four aces and broke his rival four times to seal victory in two hours and 52 minutes.

“The conditions have been very difficult,” said Kukushkin. “With a day of rain and wind, it is more complicated. These have been two very tough sets, but I am happy with the result.”

With more than 170 match wins on the ATP Tour and a triumph in St. Petersburg in 2010, Kukushkin is still eager to win titles. The World No. 262 continues to participate on the ATP Challenger Tour, seeking his 15th career trophy on the Canary Islands. However, he also enjoys his time off the courts.

“This week I am in Tenerife with my wife and son. We are taking advantage of this place to spend some time together. She is an incredible mother, takes care of everyone, and for my part, I am trying to divide my time between tennis and family.”

Kukushkin will next take on Spanish qualifier Javier Barranco Cosano, who outlasted Brazilian Felipe Meligeni Alves, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 in two hours and 19 minutes.

“It was complicated,” Barranco Cosano commented after the match. “When it rains, the days become very long, and you never really know how to manage it well. I managed to rest a bit and eat. I am quite happy with how I played.”

Yevseyev upsets Fognini

Later in the evening and under the lights at the Abama Tennis Academy, Yevseyev knocked the tournament’s top-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. The World No. 184 struck five aces and won 61 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after one hour and 44 minutes.

Yevseyev will next play Samuel Vincent of Italy, who battled past fellow qualifier Guy Den Ouden from the Netherlands 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-2. The encounter lasted two hours and 25 minutes.