Just days after appearing in the semifinals of Adelaide International 1, Thanasi Kokkinakis notched another win at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre, this time in the opening round of Adelaide International 2.
Kokkinakis was far too focused and steady for Benoit Paire on Tuesday evening, beating the Frenchman 6-4 6-0.
The win, his fourth from five outings so far in 2022, sets up a clash with No.2 seed John Isner.
“After a good run last week I was pretty knackered, not gonna lie. But I though another (tournament) in my home town, it was a perfect situation,” Kokkinakis said.
“It’s kind of a win-win for me; if I won (tonight), perfect, I get more matches. If not, I get to Melbourne and get to prepare for Aussie Open.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more to start off the year. Last year I was grinding in the Challengers. Played a couple of tour events but they were few and far between. I definitely did a lot of grinding last year and I think that will set me up for the results I’ve started the year with.
“Hopefully more tour wins will rack up and hopefully I can keep playing good tennis.”
Kokkinakis is a main-draw wildcard for the second straight week in the South Australian capital, but begins this week’s event at world No.145, up 26 places from the previous week.
And while Kokkinakis’ campaign last week was defined by thrilling three-set epics, on Tuesday night he was at his efficient best against an erratic Paire.
He broke serve with a forehand winner in the seventh game of the first set, a set which he ultimately sealed with an ace.
He then broke serve three times in the second set to build a 5-0 lead, and despite Paire smacking three clean return winners as Kokkinakis served for the match, the Aussie was not going to disrupted.
Kokkinakis cruised to victory in just 70 minutes, finishing with an incredible 27 winners – among which were 11 aces – compared with just three unforced errors.
“Playing Paire, it was always going to be a tricky one, you never know what you’re going to get. Super talented, can pull shots from anywhere like he did in that last game. So you kind of have to weather the storm a little bit,” Kokkinakis said.
“I’m stoked with the win.”
Joining Kokkinakis in the second round in Adelaide were qualifiers Corentin Moutet and Steve Johnson, the latter a 6-4 6-4 winner over another South Australian wildcard in Alex Bolt.
Johnson goes on to face Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic, whom he beat in three sets in last week’s tournament.
Fifth seed Lloyd Harris fell in three tight sets to Soonwoo Kwon, while the only seed to advance was No.8 Marton Fucsovics, who beat Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3 7-6(4).
Other winners on Tuesday were France’s Benjamin Bonzi and Gianluca Mager of Italy.