Aussies in Action: Kokkinakis moves into semi-final; Ebden nears ninth Australian Open campaign

Kokkinakis was all smiles in Adelaide on Thursday. Photo: Adelaide International/Twitter

Former world No. 39 Matthew Ebden is just one win away from reaching the Australian Open main draw. The 34-year-old was the only player out of seven Australian’s to win their qualifying match today.

Meanwhile, Thanasi Kokkinakis has made his second Adelaide International semi-final in as many weeks.

Adelaide International 2 (ATP)

Thanasi Kokkinakis, faced friend and fellow Australian Aleksandar Vukic in the Adelaide International quarter-final on Thursday night.

Both players traded strong service games to level the score at 1-1, before Vukic saved four break points in the third game.

Kokkinakis, who will open his Australian Open campaign against a qualifier, humorously became annoyed by a crow as he attempted to serve numerous times in the sixth game. Egged on by the crowd, Kokkinakis then playfully hit a tennis ball in the bird’s direction but it was to no avail as the bird was continually heard throughout the remainder of the set. 

World No. 160 Vukic, playing in his first ATP-level quarter-final, rallied from 0-40 down with the score at 5-5 in the first set to take a 6-5 lead.

Vukic then raced to a commanding 3-0 tiebreak lead, and never looked back from there, taking the first set at Memorial Drive.

Vukic took the first set on Thursday. Photo: Adelaide International

More of the same ensued as both men held their service games early.

South Australian Kokkinakis would fail to convert his 11th break-point opportunity of the match with the score at 2-1.

The world No. 145 was enduring his fifth consecutive set of tennis without a break of serve, after a tight clash with John Isner on Wednesday.

Kokkinakis finally broke Vukic on his 12th opportunity of the match, ending a long run of held service games.

The Adelaide local consolidated his break and took the second set as the match went to a decider.

Kokkinakis’ serve has been a weapon in Adelaide. Photo: Adelaide International

Kokkinakis was hungry for more, and continued to break his compatriot, dominating the final set.

Pumping up the crowd that has been behind him for a fortnight, Kokkinakis was continually heard shouting “let’s go” as he moved closer to a win.

The win came in a quick third set, 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2.

Having drawn 30th seed Lloyd Harris at next week’s Australian Open, Vukic will take plenty of heart from tonight’s clash and is capable of causing an upset at Melbourne Park.

Kokkinakis will face fourth seed Marin Cilic in the Adelaide International semi-final. Should the 25-year-old Aussie prevail, he will play in his first ATP final since losing the Los Cabos Open final in 2017.

Yet to win an ATP title, it would be a dream scenario for Kokkinakis if he breaks through for a maiden trophy in his home city.

After yesterday’s upset of the summer, Aussie pairing Aaron Addison and Thomas Fancutt put up a great fight against Gonzalo Escobar and Ariel Behar. After taking the first set, the Australian’s were bundled out in heartbreaking fashion, 3-6 7-5 (10-6).

Sydney Tennis Classic (WTA)

Astra Sharma and Dutch partner Arantxa Rus played Japanese second seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara. Originally scheduled for Wednesday evening, the match was played on Thursday afternoon.

Sharma and Rus were bundled out against their higher-fancied opponents in straight sets, 6-4 6-0.

Sydney Tennis Classic (ATP)

In the doubles, third seeds John Peers and Serbian partner Filip Polasek played Marcus Daniell and Denis Kudla for a quarter-final spot.

Peers and Polasek grinded out a win in trying circumstances, taking the match 3-6 6-3 (14-12).

Alexei Popyrin and Matt Reid made light work of eighth seeds Andrey Gobulev and Franko Skugor. Playing a rescheduled match from Wednesday, the Aussie pairing won, 6-3 6-1.

More Tennis News

Australian Open Draw: Barty on collision course with Osaka, every Aussie match-up

Aussies in Action: Wildcards stun top seeds; Kokkinakis’ huge win; Birrell one step away from Open main draw

Barty in hot form as she wins the Adelaide International title

Australian Open qualifying

34-year-old Matthew Ebden will seek to play his ninth Australian Open, requiring just one more win to cement his place. Today, Ebden defeated Dominic Stricker, 7-6(2) 6-2.

Matthew Ebden is one win away from the main draw. Photo: Australian Open/Twitter

Edward Winter’s quest for an Australian Open berth was ended by Jesper de Jong, 6-1 6-2.

Kimberly Birrell is the sole Australian woman remaining in qualifying, and is one win away from a round one berth. The 23-year-old will play United Kingdom’s Harriet Dart on Friday.

Elsewhere, it was a poor day for the Australian women as Zoe Hives, Lizette Cabrera, Jaimee Fourlis and Seone Mendez all had their 2022 Australian Open dreams ended in straight-sets.

Arina Rodionova took the first set and looked promising, before going down in three sets to Mirjam Bjorklund, 4-6 6-4 6-2.

Australian Open

The Australian Open draw has been released, as John Millman, Ash Barty and Alex de Minaur hit the practice court at Melbourne Park today. Click here to find out who all Australian’s will tackle in the first round.

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