With just a few short weeks left to go before the culmination of the ATP World Tour season in London, England, several of the tour’s top competitors will appear in Basel, where they will compete for extra points and prize money at the Swiss Indoor Open. One of those elite competitors is Stan Wawrinka, who will begin his week on home soil against Mikhail Kukushkin. The Swiss No. 2 leads the head-to-head series 2-1 and will be looking for his second win over the Kazakhstan resident this season following their Davis Cup encounter several months back.
Since losing to Kei Nishikori in the quarter-final round of the US Open, Stan Wawrinka has been unable to pick up a single win on the ATP World Tour. He lost his opening match in Tokyo to Tatsuma Ito and followed up with an opening round loss to Gilles Simon in Shanghai. Admitting to fatigue and some terrible performances, Wawrinka will likely be motivated to finish his season on a high note.
Mikhail Kukushkin is coming off a fantastic week on the tour in Moscow, where he finished runner-up for the second straight year following victories over Fabio Fognini and Mikhail Youzhny. He would eventually lose to reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic but held a set lead over the champion prior to suffering the loss. He even managed to take world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to three sets in Shanghai before losing that encounter.
This marks the fourth time that Wawrinka and Kukushkin will meet on the professional tour, with the Swiss No. 2 leading the series 2-1. Two of their meetings took place in Davis Cup competition, while their first meeting was at the US Open in 2010. Considering Kukushkin is finding his form late in the season, this will certainly be a tough opening match for Wawrinka.
Prediction: Mikhail Kukushkin in Three Sets