© Kazakhstan Tennis Federation

Qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori reaches his first ATP Tour semi-final with victory over Mikhail Kukushkin on Friday in Nur-Sultan.

Ruusuvuori Breaks New Ground In Nur-Sultan; Mannarino Survives Tense Finish

Finn to play Mannarino on Saturday

Emil Ruusuvuori became the first Finn to reach an ATP Tour semi-final for six years on Friday at the Astana Open. The 21-year-old qualifier blocked out the Kazakhstan crowd and competed with a clear game plan to oust local favourite Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-1. He won 87 per cent of his first-service points.

“Overall, it was one of my best matches in the tournament,” said Ruusuvuori. “I served, returned and moved well, and put Mikhail under a lot of pressure over the two sets. He plays very well on flat shots and likes pace, so I tried to mix it up a bit and made him play some high balls. My serve and return helped a lot today.

“At this point, I’m looking forward to big matches and being in my first semi-final is good. I hope my best performances are still coming and I just want to do my best tomorrow.”

How To Watch

Ruusuvuori started the 2020 season at No. 123 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and is now up to No. 98, having attained a career-high No. 91 on 14 September. On Saturday he will play 32-year-old Adrian Mannarino, who will contest his first tour-level semi-final since October 2019, when he reached the VTB Kremlin Cup final.

Ruusuvuori is the first Finnish player to reach an ATP Tour semi-final since Jarkko Nieminen at Kuala Lumpur in September 2014 (l. to Nishikori).


Earlier in the day, Mannarino survived a late comeback from Mackenzie McDonald for a place in the Nur-Sultan semi-finals. The third-seeded Frenchman came through 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 40 minutes, but was left to rue missing out on two points for a set and 4-1 lead.

“It was a tough match and I got a little tight at the start of the second set and I lost pace on my serve,” said Mannarino, who committed 12 unforced errors. “I led 3-1 and had two points for a 4-1 lead, and I started to serve too quickly. Mackenzie then started to play really well and started putting on the pressure. He is a really good player.”

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