Former world No. 39 Mikhail Kukushkin couldn't hide his happines after beating rising Serbian star Miomir Kecmanovic at the Davis Cup Finals. In the opening rubber of the Kazakhstan and Serbia quarterfinal tie, Kukushkin edged out Kecmanovic 7-6 (5) 4-6 7-6 (11) to give Kazakhstan an early lead.
“This kind of match for sure is going to be special in my life”, Kukushkin said afterwards, per the Davis Cup Finals website. “I don’t even know what was the score in the tiebreak. This is why we love Davis Cup, it’s about these kind of matches.
I’m so honoured to play for my country. Our fans are the best in the world. They gave that kind of support for so many years. I was fighting a lot, it was such a difficult match”.
Kukushkin saved four match points
Kukushkin was up by a set and a break but Kecmanovic forced his way back into the match as he sent the match into a decider.
Kukushkin was down by 3-0 in the third set and on the verge of going down by a double break but he saved five break points to reduce the deficit to 3-1. Kukushkin then saved two match points on Kecmanovic's serve in the 10th game and two more in the tie-break, before realizing his fifth match point to claim a win.
It was a huge win for Kukushkin, who recently opened about the darkest period of his career. "I started playing tennis when I was six years old. My father at that time was my coach. He took me to the court and he taught me many things.
He trained me until I was 17. My family did not have much money, so I did not have many opportunities because I lived in a very small town where there was hardly any life. During all my childhood I only had a dream, to become a professional tennis player," Kukushkin told Behind The Racquet.