Kukushkin claims maiden title
St Petersburg - Unheralded Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan shocked top seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia to win his maiden title at the St Petersburg Open indoor tournament here on Sunday.
The 22-year-old Astana resident came through 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) winner in the final in two hours 25 minutes to level his head-to-head record with Youzhny at 1-1.
"I didn't expect to win but now I'm really happy to win my first title," Kukushkin said. "Luckily, Misha (Youzhny) was not playing at his best today.
"I was serving well and performed really good in the tie-break battling for every single point and it payed off."
Playing his first ATP final this year, Kukushkin looked slightly more confident from the start, breaking his opponent's serve halfway into the opening set with the 88th-ranked player wrapping up the set in 45 minutes.
The opponents traded breaks twice in the second set forcing a tie-break with Kukushkin holding on for his first title and the $113 600 top prize.