Mikhail Kukushkin from Kazakhstan has lost his first-round match with Aljaz Bedene with a score 6:7, 6:4, 3:6. Players were evenly matched in the first set. In the second set, the Slovenian tennis player took the lead but then the experienced Kazakhstani player managed to fight back.
In the clash of the two veterans, Bedene secured a victory after a two-hour match. Kukushkin did not hide his disappointment after the match but did not miss a chance to once again praise the organizers of the tournament and Belgrade.
“It was a difficult match, especially the first set. I am only satisfied with the second set where I played my best tennis and I won the set. I was expecting a victory and did not expect so early elimination from the tournament. Truthfully, this is was part of the plan. I hope that my disappointment will not last long,” Mikhail Kukushkin explained.
The Kazakhstani tennis vet also commented on the future tournaments, namely preparations for Roland-Garros.
“I will be playing some small-scale clay-court tournaments in Europe in order to get ready for Roland- Garros.”
This was not Kukushkin’s first visit to Belgrade. He remembered his first visit to the Serbian capital.
“I played a challenger in Belgrade, maybe ten years ago. A long time ago really. I like playing here because I feel very comfortable. I regret not staying at the tournament longer because I really enjoyed my time in Belgrade,” Kukushkin explained.