Thanasi Kokkinakis progresses in Adelaide despite injury scare

Hometown favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis has won his first-round match at the Adelaide International 1, trumping Maxime Cressy in a tight affair.

The Australian was required to win two tiebreaks and manage a concerning knee injury, but emerged victorious in straight sets.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis defeats Maxime Cressy in Adelaide

It was an ideal start to the Australian summer of tennis for Kokkinakis on Monday night, with the Adelaide-born player defeating Cressy 7-6 (4) 7-6 (7) to reach the round of 16 at the Adelaide International.

At the same tournament where the 26-year-old picked up his first-ever ATP title, Kokkinakis battled through two closely-fought sets to score his first win of 2023.

Neither player was able to seize control of the topsy-turvy match, which took over two hours to complete.

However, Kokkinakis stood tall at key comments in both tiebreaks to secure an exciting win in front of his home crowd.

The Australian also dismissed any concerns regarding a potential right knee injury, which saw him take a medical timeout just three games in.

“I don’t know what that was. I just went to serve, and my knee buckled,” he said.

“I don’t know why it happened like four serves in a row. It felt a bit weird, but I took some painkillers, got a bit of treatment, and it got better as I warmed up, so I’m happy it’s nothing too serious.”

‘Special Ks’ to defend Australian Open doubles title

Prior to the Adelaide International commencing, Kokkinakis confirmed that he would link up again with good friend Nick Kyrgios in the men’s doubles.

The pair will be aiming to defend their 2022 crown, which saw them become the first wildcard duo in the open era to lift the trophy at Melbourne Park.

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Following their unlikely title run, the ‘Special Ks’ continued to play doubles throughout the year.

They picked up a total of 19 wins from the eight tournaments they participated in throughout 2022, which saw them compete in their first-ever ATP Finals to wrap up the season.

The Australian duo bowed out of the tournament in Turin in the group stages but still put on a signature show for fans, notching a stunning upset in their second match.

“We’ll be playing at Aussie (Australian Open),” Kokkinakis told reporters in Adelaide.

“Doubles is a lot less taxing on the body and mentally it’s a bit easier as well.

“Obviously singles is our priority but I think it would be rude not to go out there and have fun with it.”

Popyrin claims upset win against Félix Auger-Aliassime

Kokkinakis was not the only Australian to pick up a win on the opening day in Adelaide, with Alexei Popyrin notching a stunning upset over world No. 6 Félix Auger-Aliassime.

The 23-year-old prevailed 6-4 7-6 (5) in a hard-earned win over the Canadian.

Down, 4-1 in the second set, Popyrin rallied to force a tiebreak, and ultimately held his nerve when it mattered most.

“A really good win for me, especially coming off last season where I only had five wins on the circuit,” Popyrin said.

“For me, it’s a very, very important win. I know I have the level to play against guys like that, and today just proved it.

“I’m happy. I’m not surprised, to be honest, but I’m happy with it.”

The two other Australians in action in the men’s draw – Jordan Thompson and Christopher O’Connell – were not as fortunate, both losing their first-round matches.

Jaimee Fourlis was also unsuccessful in her opening match in the women’s draw.

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