Martin Damm blasts 39 aces, prevails and celebrates in style!

The young American prevailed over Mikhail Kukushkin in three tight sets

by Jovica Ilic
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Martin Damm blasts 39 aces, prevails and celebrates in style!
© Stream screenshot

The Koblenz Challenger saved the best for last on Wednesday night, with Mikhail Kukushkin and Martin Damm battling for a place in the quarter-final. The young American prevailed 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 in two hours and 44 minutes, blasting 39 aces and celebrating a tight victory in style.

A tall Damm needed every one of those aces, winning only one point more than his rival and prevailing in the crucial moments to remain on the title course. Kukushkin played better behind the second serve and had his chances to emerge at the top.

The more experienced player saved two out of four break points and created ten opportunities on the return, five in the encounter's first game. Martin denied seven and clinched both tie breaks to advance into the last eight.

Martin Damm, KOblenz Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

A left-handed American avoided an early setback in the first game of the match, firing five service winners to deny five break points and holding with another booming serve.

Kukushkin denied a break point in the second game with an unreturned serve, holding for 1-1. The young gun landed a backhand down the line winner in the fourth game, creating a break chance and converting it with another fine backhand that caused the rival's mistake.

Instead of building on that, Damm netted a forehand in the fifth game, losing serve and bringing Kukushkin back to the positive side. The giant server denied a break point at 3-3 with a backhand drive-volley winner and closed the game with a powerful forehand down the line that sent him 4-3 in front.

Martin Damm fired 39 aces at an indoor Koblenz Challenger.

Both players served well in the remaining games, introducing a tie break. Martin clinched two early mini-breaks and created five set points when Mikhail netted a forehand.

The American seized the first with a service winner, wrapping up the opener in 56 minutes. Damm denied a break point in the second game of the second set with an ace down the T line and held with another. The youngster endured a baseline rally in the third game, causing the rival's mistake and moving 2-1 in front.

The 20-year-old clinched the fourth game at love after an ace, moving 3-1 up and closer to the finish line. Kukushkin stayed in touch with a hold at love in game seven and broke back in the next one after Damm's backhand error.

Martin Damm, KOblenz Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

The Kazakh served well after that break he suffered early on, holding in game 11 for 6-5 and keeping the pressure on the other side. Martin hit a double fault in game 12 and offered his rival a set point.

Mikhail placed a return down the line winner, clinching the set in style and forcing a decider after an hour and 47 minutes. Damm survived two deuces in the sixth game, holding with a serve & volley combo for 3-3. Kukushkin denied a break point in the seventh game, extending his chances.

Martin served to stay in the match at 4-5 and fired an ace to increase the drama. The American introduced a tie break with a service winner in game 12, secured an early mini-break and fired two powerful serves for a 3-0 advantage.

Kukushkin netted a routine backhand in the fifth point, falling 4-1 behind and facing five match points after Damm's two booming serves. Mikhail denied the first two on his serve before Martin seized the third with a serve & volley combo, celebrating the win and moving into the quarter-final.

Mikhail Kukushkin
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