Mikhail Kukushkin vs Grigor Dimitrov
|Date & Time||Tuesday October 23, 2018, 12:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
World number 10 from Bulgaria, Grigor Dimitrov, will begin his 2018 ATP Erste Bank Open in Vienna against Mikhail Kukushkin from Kazakhstan.
Mikhail Kukushkin enters this tournament via the qualifiers where he won both of his matches in straight sets. It has been a good few months for Mikhail Kukushkin as he made it into the third round of the US Open and second round of the Shanghai Masters. In this time, Mikhail Kukushkin beat the likes of Australian Open semifinalist, Hyeon Chung. That being said, this is set to be a very tough match for Mikhail Kukushkin as he is playing an opponent who is ranked 10th in the world. The last time Mikhail Kukushkin beat a top 10 ranked player was in 2014 when he beat Stan Wawrinka. In a 12 year career, Mikhail Kukushkin has only won 2 times against top 10 ranked players meaning the odds will be against him in this match.
On the other side of the court, Grigor Dimitrov has had a very poor few months as he has failed to make the semifinals of a tournament since the Monte-Carlo Masters in April. A big issue for Grigor Dimitrov has been his serving which has been evident in his last 3 defeats where he lost a total of 12 service games. As far as this match is concerned, I think Grigor Dimitrov should be good enough to win, even with a poor serve, considering the Bulgarian is ranked over 60 spots above his opponent and is much more accomplished and skilled.
Surprisingly, Mikhail Kukushkin has beaten Dimitrov twice in the past while the Bulgarian has only beaten the Kazakhstani once. That being said, the last match between these two players was in 2015 and Dimitrov is now a much better player.
All in all, I am picking Grigor Dimitrov to win this match. Dimitrov is a much more accomplished player and has a habit of finishing seasons well as he showed last year by winning the ATP finals. I see Grigor Dimitrov make the next round of this tournament.