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Tsitsipas Overcomes Kukushkin To Capture Marseille Title

Stefanos Tsitsipas lifted his second ATP Tour title on Sunday, beating Mikhail Kukushkin 7-5, 7-6(5) at the Open 13 Provence.
The #NextGenATP Greek fired 14 aces and won 84 per cent of first-serve points (41/49) to lift the trophy after one hour and 58 minutes. The 20-year-old Tsitsipas, who owns an 11-4 record this season, continues to impress after becoming the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist since Novak Djokovic (2007 US Open) at the Australian Open last month. Last year, Tsitsipas ended his season in fine form, lifting his maiden tour-level title in Stockholm (d. Gulbis) before triumphing at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Tsitsipas did not drop a set en route to the title in Marseille, also beating Hubert Hurkacz, Sergiy Stakhovsky and David Goffin to reach the championship match. The World No. 12 improves to 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Kukushkin, adding to his three-set win over the Kazakh at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last year.

Holding serve with relative ease throughout the first set, Tsitsipas put Kukushkin under consistent pressure on serve. The #NextGenATP Greek tried to keep points short, charging to the net and dictating with his backhand to earn points on return. Kukushkin handled the pressure well to reach 5-5, before Tsitsipas made a crucial move. After holding serve for a 6-5 lead, the top seed played with depth and brought his forehand into play to extract a crucial backhand error from his opponent for a one-set advantage.
After failing to convert his first break-point opportunity, Kukushkin claimed the opening break of the second set at 2-2 with his second cross-court forehand winner of the game. But Tsitsipas recaptured his best level as Kukushkin served for the set at 5-4, playing with depth, while varying the pace on his groundstrokes, to reach a tie-break. With the trophy in sight, Tsitsipas moved up the court and extracted errors from his opponent with aggressive forehands to claim the title.

Kukushkin was bidding to capture his second title in his fourth tour-level championship match. The 31-year-old lifted his maiden ATP Tour title at the 2010 St. Petersburg Open (d. Youzhny), before final losses at the 2013 VTB Kremlin Cup (l. to Gasquet) and the 2015 Sydney International (l. to Troicki).
Tsitsipas collects 250 ATP Ranking points and receives €89,435 in prize money. Kukushkin gains 150 ATP Ranking points and earns €47,105.

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Source: ATP World Tour

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