Rising Russian Aslan Karatsev underlined that it wasn't easy at all against former world No. 39 Mikhail Kukushkin in the Miami Masters second round. Karatsev, who recently claimed his maiden ATP title at the ATP 500 event in Dubai, handed a 6-4 6-3 loss to Kukushkin to make the Miami third round in his debut at the tournament.
Kukushkin claimed an early break to open a 4-2 lead, before Karatsev claimed back-to-back breaks to steal the opener. Karatsev blew an early second set break but he against broke Kukushkin in the fourth game and then held on to his serve the rest of the set to book a straight-set win.
"It was a really tough, tight match. To play your first match against Kukushkin is not easy, he’s a tough opponent,” Karatsev said in an on-court interview, per the ATP website. “The courts are more slow here compared to last week in Dubai, so you have to adjust.
The first match is always tough, but I found a way to beat him”.
Karatsev plays next rising star Sebastian Korda
"Of course it gives me confidence to win my first title, but you arrive here and it’s a different surface and new tournament,” Karatsev said.
“So you try [to think of it] as a new tournament and new place, but of course it gives me a lot of confidence”. This week, Karatsev revealed Mischa Zverev gave him some Adidas match shirts at the Australian Open.
“I was in the locker room packing my bag after the match and Mischa just asked me if I needed some t-shirts and I said 'okay' I also play with adidas so I took it. I had a contract with adidas five years ago so I still had plenty of clothes, but they were not the latest model. Maybe he saw that I played with the old ones,'' Karatsev told the ATP website.