Kokkinakis Gains First Tour-Level Win Since Federer Upset In Miami 2018
The 23-year-old wild card saved eight of nine break points and swept past France's Maxime Janvier 6-4, 6-4 to reach the second round in Mexico. Kokkinakis upset defending champion Roger Federer at the 2018 Miami Open presented by Itau in March, but didn't win a tour-level match the rest of the year and started 0-2 this season.
“It was very tricky, tricky conditions, very windy out there, and my opponent was trying to hit every ball as he hard as he could so I had to just try and stay patient, stay calm,” Kokkinakis said. “It got a bit yucky through the match, towards the end, but I found a way to win, which is good.”
The talented right-hander has struggled with injuries throughout his young career. In January, Kokkinakis had to retire during the first round of the Australian Open because of a right shoulder injury that forced him to sit out until April. A right pectoral injury forced Kokkinakis to miss qualifying at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. He has played only five events this year.
"Hopefully I can stay healthy and put together some good runs, whether it's this week or not. Hopefully for the rest of the year [I can] stay healthy," Kokkinakis said.
"We've been practising a lot this week. Lucas and I are pretty good friends... We know each other pretty well," Kokkinakis said. "It's going to be a very tough match, but I've been practising pretty well against him, so we'll see what happens."
Eighth seed Mikhail Kukushkin continued where he left off at Wimbledon when he made his second fourth round at a Grand Slam (l. to Nishikori). The 31-year-old right-hander beat Damir Dzumhur 7-5, 6-2 and will next face the winner between Brit Cameron Norrie and France's Gregoire Barrere.
India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran fought through an up-and-down match against Aussie John Millman to advance 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. He will next meet fifth seed and Atlanta finalist Taylor Fritz or German qualifier Dominik Koepfer.