Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open
Andrey Rublev returns to the Quarterfinals
Roger Federer says Andrey Rublev is the “one to watch” in 2020. After a straight-sets thumping on Wednesday, it’s likely Mikhail Kukushkin agrees. After the win, Andrey admitted that he didn’t want 2019 to end. After beating Wawrinka and Federer over the Summer, winning the title in Moscow, and making a Semifinal run at the Davis Cup Final in Madrid, the off-season simply interrupted momentum.
Andrey Rublev is now 3-4 versus Mikhail Kukushkin
This was the 5th main-draw Tour-level meeting between these two players. Last season, Mikhail Kukushkin won their Quarterfinal match in Marseille, then went on the reach the Final. Over the Summer in Cincinnati, Andrey Rublev won their most recent match in the Final Round of Qualifying – then went on to upset Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer to reach his first Masters Quarterfinal.
► 2020. Rublev – Score: 64 62 – Doha (R2)
► 2019. Rublev – Score: 36 64 63 – Cincinnati (QR2)
► 2019. Kukushkin – Score: 64 61 – Marseille (QF)
► 2018. Kukushkin – Score: 76(4) 64 – Vienna (R16)
► 2018. Kukushkin – Score: 62 63 – Vienna (QR2)
► 2016. Rublev – Score: 63 41 RET – St. Petersburg (R1)
► 2015. Kukushkin – Score: 62 64 – Moscow (R1)
 Andrey Rublev -23- (RUS)| Round-2 Announcer Introduction
For the first time, this 22-year-old ball-crusher is back in Doha as one of our top-seeds. And after the way he finished the 2019 Season, it comes as no surprise. Last Summer in Cincinnati, he defeated Roger Federer to reach his first Masters-1000 Quarterfinal. At the US Open, he upset World #8 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Opening Round. He went on to capture his second ATP Tour Singles title in Moscow, climbed to a career-high ranking of World #22, and helped lift Russia to the Davis Cup Semifinals in Madrid. Competing in his 3rd Qatar ExxonMobil Open – 2-years-ago, he reached the championship match in his Doha debut. From Russia – This is Andrey Rublev.
▲ R2 — def Mikhail Kukushkin -66- (KAZ) | Score: 64 62
▲ R1 — Bye
Announcer Corner | Andrey Rublev
Injured for 2-months of the clay season last year, Andrey Rublev returned like a player possessed. He earned 4 of his 5 top-10 victories during the second half of the 2019 season, including victories over Dominic Thiem in Hamburg, Roger Federer in Cincinnati, Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open, and Roberto Bautista Agut in Davis Cup. Rublev started 2019 as the World #68, dropped outside the top-100 in February – but recovered to end the season as the World #23. Impressive comeback, indeed.
Mikhail Kukushkin -66- (KAZ) | Round-2 Announcer Introduction
Last night, he started the new season with a 6-Love set over former World #42 Malek Jaziri, and reached today’s Round of 16 match with a straight sets victory. Back in Doha for the first time since 2011, he owns 1 ATP Tour Singles title, 14 Challenger titles and has been ranked as high as World #39. Last season, he reached his 4th ATP Tour level Final in Marseille, his 24th Challenger Final in Phoenix, won a career-high 22-matches, and cracked the ATP’s top-40 for the first time. Competing in his 3rd Qatar ExxonMobil Open, from Kazakhstan – welcome back Mikhail Kukushkin.
▼ R2 — loss  Andrey Rublev -23- (RUS) | Score: 46 26
▲ R1 — def [WC] Malek Jaziri -229- (TUN) | Score: 60 63 | RECAP
Announcer Corner | Mikhail Kukushkin
Last year, Mikhail Kukushkin carried a shoulder injury into the start of the season. In fact, he withdrew from Doha before the start of the event, instead opting to begin 2019 at the Australian Open. While he fell to Lucas Pouille in Round-1, Mikhail went-on to lift Kazakhstan into the Davis Cup Final in Madrid, reached his 4th career ATP Tour Final in Marseille, and cracked the ATP’s top-40 for the first time.
After an early exit at Indian Wells, he reached his 24th Challenger Final at the Arizona Tennis Classic in Phoenix, but managed only one Singles victory during the clay season. Although at Roland Garros, he did reach his first career Grand Slam Doubles Quarterfinal. The rest of the year wasn’t exactly brilliant, aside from his Round-2 upset of World #12 John Isner at Wimbledon. He then took-out Jan-Lennard Struff to reach the Round of 16 at a Major for the first time since the 2012 Australian Open.
While Mikhail won a career-high 22 matches last season – including his 4th top-10 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut at the US Open – overall, he fell from World #53 to World #67.