Mikhail Kukushkin vs Sam Querrey ATP Moneyline Picks - 6/24/2019
Mikhail Kukushkin vs Sam Querrey
5 am EST, 24th June 2019
ATP Eastbourne, England
Sam Querrey was absent from the tour for quite a while, not playing since mid-April when he lost to Christian Garin in semifinals of Houston. After that, he wasn't playing at any European clay court tournaments and then announced that he's pulling out of Roland Garros as well, due to a stomach injury. I believe he got into the Eastbourne draw to test out how well that injury healed just before the start of Wimbledon and to shake off some court rust, rather than having some serious ambitions here. He's not defending any points, because he didn't even play here last year, but he had some success at this event earlier. In 2014, he got into the semifinals where he lost to Feliciano Lopez and managed to build on that year later, by losing to Denis Istomin in the finals. His grass court resume has to be taken seriously. 60-36 with a title (Queen's Club 2014) and two times runner-up on grass courts is not something that should be taken lightly. He can be a threat at all times in this type of playing conditions with his high-level serving and ball striking ability.
Mikhail Kukushkin is someone that can't brag with nearly as many accolades on this surface as his opponent. He is only 12-19 on the grass in his career, which makes for a second worst win percentage, after his success rate on clay courts. He didn't start this swing on a much better note, winning only 1 out of his 3 matches. That only win came against Lorenzo Sonego in the first round of Hertogenbosch, where he won after being set down vs young Italian. The win was nice but struggling against someone that doesn't have much experience on this playing surface was still not a very good look. After that, he suffered 2 ugly losses vs French players, Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy (R1 of Queen's club).
But in my opinion, he is able to do so much better in these playing conditions. He has the playing style which should work well on grass, his only problem currently is his questionable form. He hits his groundstrokes with zero topspin on both sides. Has a very good feel when hitting the ball on the rise and using all the pace that these courts give him. He can be overpowered at times, similarly to what happened in his previous match vs Chardy, but the opponent has to do it without committing too many unforced errors because Kukushkin is able to extend those rallies and make him work for everything. Coming off a 2 months absence, I'm sure that this is a trickier matchup for Querrey then it seems. He has only one gear and that is pedal to the medal. He doesn't hold anything back and goes for the winner with pretty much every swing.
Betting odds & prediction
In current form and considering the matchup, I'm not sure that Querrey is the favorite here. His aggressive style will backfire at him early in this one because he should be a little bit rusty with no official matches lately. And in that type of shape, you just can't come out guns blazing right away. He opened as a -105 favorite and got bet down to -123 at the moment. That move does not surprise me. People are not trusting Kukushkin with the way he's been playing lately, and especially not in a situation where he's facing a decorated grass court player. But, I do not agree with the move. It's going to be a very difficult match for the American and I like Mikhail as an underdog in this one.
Guy's Pick: Mikhail Kukushkin +107
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