Mikhail Kukushkin vs Rafael Nadal Tennis Prediction
Rafael Nadal, who did not play a competitive match on grass before entering Wimbledon, scored a routine straight set win over Dudi Sela to advance into the second round, 6-3 6-3 6-2. The world #1 won around 80% of his first serve points and created 14 break points chances during this win (8/14).
The Spaniard and two-time Wimbledon champion, Rafael Nadal, has suffered three second-round exits here in the past with all those three defeats coming against big underdogs, Gilles Muller in 2005, Lukas Rosol in 2012 and Dustin Brown 2015.
Rafael Nadal has entered six tournaments so far in 2018 (excluding exhibition) and managed to reach at least the quarterfinal in all six. This impressive run includes titles at Monte Carlo Masters, Rome Masters, Barcelona and French Open.
Mikhail Kukushkin continued his good form on grass by dispatching Vasek Pospisil in four sets in the first round of Wimbledon, 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-3. With this win, he took his 2018 grass tally to four wins and two losses (4/2).
The Kazakh #1 lost his recent two second-round matches at Wimbledon, against Roberto Bautista Agut in 2016 and Mischa Zverev in 2017. Having drawn against Rafael Nadal, he will have to do extremely well to avoid his third consecutive second-round exit from Wimbledon.
Playing his second grass tournament of the season at ATP Eastbourne last week, Mikhail Kukushkin scored three impressive wins against Alex De Minaur, David Ferrer, and Kyle Edmund before losing to the eventual champion Mischa Zverev in the semifinal.
Rafael Nadal leads the H2H 3-0 including winning their only previous meeting on grass (R3, Wimbledon 2014). The Spaniard is by far the superior player and will start as the favorite, but he has been vulnerable on grass in the recent years, and if Kukushkin is ever going to beat Nadal, it will be on grass.
Tennis Prediction: Rafael Nadal 3-0 SET