Kukushkin compromises Djokovic’s future at Davis


It can definitely be said that in Serbia Novak Djokovic plays alone. In the first tie of the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, Dusan Lajovic, 33rd in the world, passed Cain’s to beat Austrian Gerald Melzer, 290th, and in the second, Filip Krajinovic (42nd) could not con the German Dominik Koepfer (54th). The Balkans entered carom quarters, thanks to the defeat of Spain against Russia, and this Wednesday Miomir Kecmanovic, an eternal promise of 22 years, who was a junior finalist of the US Open in 2016 and occupies position 68 in the ranking, crashed before the veteran Mikhail Kukushkin (33 and 183º), a notable player at the time who retained a lot of tennis and beat him by 7-6 (5), 4-6 and 7-6 (11) in 3h18, after lifting four match balls. Thus, Kazakhstan came forward and Djokovic has no choice but to beat Alexander Bublik to force the point of doubles and seek with him the semifinals, in which Croatia has been waiting since Monday.

Kukushkin is one of those tennis players made for Davis. Russian by birth, he became a Kazakh national in 2008 and is already the second player with the most victories that has garnered the most for his adopted country in the competition of nations (29-18). In this edition, old laurels have come back to life, remembering the time when he brought Djokovic himself to the fifth set in a series played in the mythical Pionir of Belgrade in 2016.

In the first set against Kecmanovic, a debutant in the competition, he rebuilt after conceding a break and prevailed in the tiebreaker. But in the second, the Balkan improved, raised a 4-2 against and took advantage of the fifth set ball with 5-4 to the rest in an eternal game to equalize the game. During the break, Djokovic acted as leader proposing some corrections to the captain, Viktor Troicki. Mikhail, owner of a devilish backhand and a drive with a certain punch, deflated and Kecmanovic, very solid from the bottom with his cuts, escaped early in the third set: 3-0, 4-1, 5-2 and I am on track. … Or so the kid believed, who went into crisis, suffered cramps in his left thigh, lost two match points and was doomed to suffer in a second tie-break that again eluded him after letting another two match balls escape. Kukushkin drew on experience and pride and puts Kazakhstan on the brink of its first semifinals.

Davis Cup results.

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