We’re taking a close look at a deep cut at the All England Club on Tuesday, when world No. 160 Mikhail Kukushkin and world No. 34 Jenson Brooksby collide. Brooksby has been a hot name on tour since last year’s US Open, when he put up a fight against Novak Djokovic. The American has, however, been in a bad way since the start of April. That leaves Kukushkin, a former world No. 39, with a fighting chance to emerge with a win.

While Brooksby is one of the better young players in the game, he is just 3-7 since the start of April. That record includes a 1-3 mark in four grass-court matches, so he hasn’t been able to get going on this surface. It’s not that surprising when you consider the fact that grass-court play often has quick points, with players swinging a bit bigger to put them away early. That hurts a player like Brooksby, who likes to use his wheels to extend points and eventually hit unlikely winners on the move. The American also lacks the strength to really hit through most players at this level, a limitation that stands out more on grass.


That said, Kukushkin isn’t exactly the type of player to overpower an opponent, but he’s also a tough draw for Brooksby right now. The Kazakh veteran is much better than his ranking suggests, and he's already won three matches at Wimbledon thus far, going 3-0 in qualifying. One of those victories was over fellow tour veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.

There’s no denying that Kukushkin’s best days are behind him, but the 34-year-old has to be feeling good about his chances against a struggling Brooksby. There’s a reason that the oddsmakers only have Brooksby as a -290 favorite in what is supposed to be a breeze of a match for the 21-year-old. They don’t want to expose themselves by laying too favorable of a number on Kukushkin, who has a real opportunity to pull off this upset.

But we aren’t even advocating for you to back Kukushkin to win this outright—though he is worth a small sprinkle as such a heavy ‘dog—but we like him to take at least one set here. The odds aren’t exactly that favorable at -200, but it’s just hard to see him not getting on the board with Brooksby looking as vulnerable as he has over the last few months.

The Pick: Kukushkin To Win A Set (-200)