ATP St. Petersburg: Adrian Mannarino and Mikhail Kukushkin make solid start

Tennis - Lukas Rosol, Egor Gerasimov, Alexei Vatutin and Ilya Ivashka have reached the main draw

by Jovica Ilic
ATP St. Petersburg: Adrian Mannarino and Mikhail Kukushkin make solid start

The 7th seed Adrian Mannarino scored the 18th victory in 2019, defeating Stefano Travaglia 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 19 minutes. Back in May, Mannarino prevailed over the Italian at Roland Garros in five sets and had a more relaxed day at the office today, saving three out of four break chances and scoring four breaks from six opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets.

Travaglia had an early advantage, opening a 4-1 lead before Mannarino shifted into a higher gear to overcome the deficit, taking the last three games of the set with a break at 5-5 to gather the momentum. The Frenchman extended his streak to seven games after a 4-0 advantage in set number two, moving over the top with a hold at 15 at 5-2 to secure the spot in the second round.

The 6th seed Mikhail Kukushkin toppled the young Italian Jannik Sinner 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 39 minutes, playing better in the decisive moments and taking just three points more than the upcoming star. Jannik had more winners but also more errors, wasting nine out of 11 break chances and suffering three breaks to propel the rival through and end his run in the first round.

The more experienced player saved three break chances in the first game of the match, opening a 3-1 gap when Jannik sent a smash long in game four and facing more troubles on serve in game seven. This time, the Italian squandered four break opportunities, fending off a set point in the next game before Kukushkin held at love in game nine for a 6-3.

Mikhail forced an error from Sinner in game three of the second set to grab a break, staying in front only for a couple of minutes as Jannik broke back following a forehand error from the Kazakh. They traded breaks in games seven and eight again and Kukushkin saved a set point in game ten with a service winner, securing a tie break that he won 7-4 with another good serve.

In the last qualifying round, Lukas Rosol ousted Damir Dzumhur 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 after saving one match point in the second set tie break, followed by Egor Gerasimov who toppled the young Russian Romas Safiullin 7-5, 6-7, 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes.

Ilya Ivashka was too strong for Matteo Viola while Alexei Vatutin ousted the struggling Latvian Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Adrian Mannarino Mikhail Kukushkin Ilya Ivashka