Mikhail Kukushkin vs Bernard Tomic
Mikhail Kukushkin won in the first round against Sam Querrey, young and talented American who is trying to find his form once again, after several injuries, but it seems that his biggest battles are yet to come as he still needs to work a lot to get back his level of tennis from the beginning of last year. Anyway, Mikhail has no major success till now at clay court, either at ATP level. His first tournament at clay was in Monte Carlo where he came from the qualifying rounds to beat Florian Mayer and Filippo Volandri, before he lost to Rafael Nadal taking only two games. After that tournament, he moved to Barcelona and lost in second round to Nishikori in three. Later on, he lost to strong server Marinko Matosevic in Munich and one week later, he lost to Querrey in the qualifying round of Rome Masters. Overall, Mikhail is not playing bad tennis at clay, but he still needs to work a lot more as his biggest wins at clay are Querrey alike victories.
Bernard Tomic, on the other hand, isn’t too experienced at this surface, but he is one of the upcoming stars in World of tennis and probably deserves a bit more credit from the bookies, at least when playing against nothing but mediocre tennis players. As said, he isn’t too experienced as this is his first regular year where he has a chance to play any clay court tournament he wants. He didn’t have any major success at clay till now, but he played the very best tournaments and had to face up against very good names in comparison to Kukushkin. All in all, he won over Istomin, Gulbis, Rochus, Starace and Giraldo, while he was defeated to Djokovic, Lopez, Stepanek, Dolgopolov. Here in Nice, he won in first round against Lacko in two, 6-2 6-3. His serve worked fine and there was generally no bad moments in his game.
Although the young Australian is capable of having some holes in his game when he completely losses his focus, this game and tournament represent a great chance for him to make further progress at clay and this is something he shouldn’t give up that easy. Depending on the opponents, it’s still to be seen how far can he go, but one thing is sure in this game – he is much bigger favorite than the odds represent.
Bet: Bernard Tomic @1.77 with Pinnacle Sports