Richard Gasquet (Player Bio) continues his bid to reach the year-end champioships, when he faces Mikhail Kukushkin (Player Bio) in the Moscow 2013 finals tomorrow afternoon. This is the second time that the Frenchman meets the current World No. 102 on the professional tour, with their only other match taking place in the second round of the Canadian Open last year. Gasquet currently leads the Head-to-Head with 1-0.
Gasquet eased into the Moscow finals with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Ivo Karlovic. The Frenchman also had an impressive performance in his quarter-final match as saved 5 break points in his 81 minute victory over Teymuraz Gabashvili. The 27-year-old suffered a disappointing setback in his qualification bid last week when he was beaten in the Shanghai Rolex Masters first round, but prior to that had reached three straight semi-finals at the US Open, the Thailand Open in Bangkok and the China Open in Beijing. The World No. 10 is still in the running and is currently vying for one of the four places remaining for grabs at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and should he win the title in Moscow, he will overtake Tsonga in 9th place in the Race to London. He has compiled a 47-18 win/loss record this season.
Mikhail Kukushkin has played an inspiring tournament in Moscow this year. He defeated Alex Bogomolov Jr. in the opening round and followed it up with wins over Alexander Dolgopolov, Golubev and Italy’s Andreas Seppi to reach the finals of the Kremlin Cup. His win over Seppi was the only contest that required three sets and was a fantastic display of heart and determination, as Kukushkin recovered from a mental lapse in the second set to steal the match with a 6-4 win in the third set. He is now 6-5 in ATP competition this year and will be facing his first top 10 competitor tomorrow as he attempts to topple the French No. 1.
Gasquet had previously defeated Kukushkin in the second round of the Canadian Masters event in Toronto in convincing fashion, and barring any external factors, he should be able to duplicate his efforts in Moscow tomorrow afternoon and get one step closer to qualifying for the tour finals.