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In 2009, he came through qualifying to reach the main draw of a Masters Series 1000 tournament for the first time at the Miami Masters. He beat Tommy Haas in the first round, but lost to Dmitry Tursunov in the second round.
In September 2010, during the Davis Cup play-offs, he notably beat Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka. His good form continued, later winning his only ATP World Tour title, as he beat world number 10 player Mikhail Youzhny in the final of the St. Petersburg Open 6-3, 7-6.
In January 2012, Kukushkin became the first player with a Kazakh passport to reach the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open, after defeating Guillermo García-López, Viktor Troicki and Gaël Monfils. Later that season, he reached a then career-high singles ranking of World No. 49, just after the quarterfinals at Nice and the second round at the 2012 French Open. At the 2012 Olympics, he lost in the first round of the men's singles to Gilles Simon.
By the end of 2012 he suffered from a bad hip injury and had to go for surgery twice. By August 2013 his ranking had tumbled to No. 430. After making his recovery he reached the third round of the 2013 US Open, his best performance in the American Grand Slam, starting from the qualifying draw. In September he found good form again, winning two Challenger Tournaments in Turkey: Izmir and Istanbul. He then reached his second ATP World Tour final in Moscow, at the Kremlin Cup, beating in the semifinals World No. 22 and defending champion Andreas Seppi.
(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (P#) preliminary round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (Z#) Davis/Fed Cup Zonal Group (with number indication) or (PO) play-off; (G) gold, (S) silver or (B) bronze Olympic/Paralympic medal; (NMS) not a Masters tournament; (NTI) not a Tier I tournament; (P) postponed; (NH) not held; (SR) strike rate (events won / competed); (W-L) win-loss record.
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.