Ash Barty and Storm Sanders at the Adelaide International. IMAGE: Australian Open

Big names Ash Barty and Thanasi Kokkinakis were winners in Adelaide whilst Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the Melbourne Summer Set.

Big names Ash Barty, Samantha Stosur and Thanasi Kokkinakis were amongst the winners on a busy day of tennis across the nation, as Nick Kyrgios pulled out due to asthma. Read all about it as Australia’s brightest stars continue their build-up to the Australian Open.

Adelaide International

Following a hot run of form, Daria Saville suffered a straight-sets loss to world number nine Iga Swiatek, 6-3 6-3. The 27-year-old Australian was never really in the encounter as the fifth seeded Poland native stamped her authority at Memorial Drive.

Madison Inglis suffered a similar fate to her compatriot with a heavy loss to American Shelby Rogers, 6-1 6-3.

In the men’s, local hopes Alex Bolt and Thanasi Kokkinakis were both in action in Adelaide on Tuesday, suffering different fates. Bolt lost to Argentinian Juan Manuel Cerendolo, 6-2 6-4, whilst Kokkinakis produced one of his best recent performances to defeat fellow Australian John Millman, 6-4 6-3. Kokkinakis was dominant from start to finish on his way to defeating his higher-ranked Davis Cup teammate.

Speaking after the match, Kokkinakis was happy to be back and playing in his home city.

“I love coming back here. I haven’t been home here in 12 months,” Kokkinakis said post-match.

“It was a gruelling year travelling but I’m so happy to play my first professional tournament here in front of my home fans.

“To play a real meaningful tournament and beat such a quality opponent, a proven veteran like Johnny, means a lot.”

Kokkinakis will look to continue his impressive rise in the rankings after missing most of the 2019 and 2020 season with a long-term shoulder injury.

In the women’s doubles, Wimbledon champion Ash Barty partnered with Storm Sanders as they cruised to a 6-0 7-6(4) win over American duo Caty McNally and Coco Gauff. Barty will open her singles campaign tomorrow with a clash against the 17-year-old Gauff.


Australia suffered a loss to Russia in their second round of the ATP Cup. James Duckworth opened the night for Team Australia but went down to Roman Safiullin in a tight encounter, 7-6(6) 6-4. World number 34 Alex De Minaur showed glimpses in a straight-sets loss to US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, 6-4 6-2. Australia must defeat France if they are to be any chance of reaching the semi-final.

Speaking after the loss, De Minaur said he will look to improve his game as his build-up to the Australian Open continues.

“(I played) a couple too many unforced errors,” said a deflated De Minaur.

“You’ve got to find that balance between not being too aggressive and not too passive.”

Melbourne Summer Set

World number 93 Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the Melbourne Summer Set due to a bout of asthma. The polarising Australian also confirmed he had produced a number of negative COVID-19 tests after feeling unwell over the weekend. Kyrgios aims to play the Sydney Tennis Classic next week.

375th-ranked Aussie Rinky Hijikata stunned world number 98 Henri Laaksonen in the final qualifying round to ensure his place in the main draw. It was Hijikata’s first win over a top 100 opponent but he was made to earn it, winning in a gritty performance, 4-6 7-6(8) 6-4. The 20-year-old will face 112th ranked qualifier Maxime Cressy in the opening round of the main draw.

Rinky Hijikata celebrates winning a point. IMAGE: Australian Open

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In the women’s singles, Kimberley Birrell, who was playing just her second match in 11 months, was bundled out of qualifying following a straight-sets loss to Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove.

It was better news for Destanee Aiava who reached the main draw by defeating fellow Australian Taylah Preston, 6-4 6-4. The 274th-ranked Aiava will have her work cut out for her as she faces 20th-ranked Romanian Simona Halep on Wednesday.

In the main draw, 65th ranked Ariana Rodionova suffered a crushing opening-round defeat to Elena-Gabriela Ruse, 6-3 6-2, and will hope to improve ahead of her upcoming sixth Australian Open appearance.

In the doubles, retiring Australian Samantha Stosur and Chinese partner Zhang Shuai won their first round encounter. Monique Adamczak also won her opening round doubles encounter, partnering with Han Xinyun on their way to an impressive win.

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