Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis has cruised into the final of the $50,000 Las Vegas ATP Challenger tournament. He defeated Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-1. John-Patrick Smith had earlier lost to Slovakia’s Blaz Rola 6-3, 7-5.
Kokkinakis only faced one break point against his serve and was not broken by 19-year-old Ruud the world no. 117. Kokkinakis fired down 12 aces while Ruud had two.
The world no. 192 was able to break Ruud four times throughout the match. In the first set, Kokkinakis got the break in the fifth game after finally converting the fifth break point after Ruud hit a smash into the net. That one break of serve was enough to see Kokkinakis take the first set 6-4. Kokkinakis had taken a medical timeout after getting the break of serve. The Australian saved a break point at 30-40 in the eighth game.
In the first game of the second set Kokkinakis was immediately on top, earning two break points but just needing one as Ruud hit a shot into the net. Kokkinakis broke to love in the next game for a 3-0 lead. He then ran away with the set to close out the match 6-1.
John-Patrick Smith was broken in his first service game against Rola and he was not able to earn a single break point. In the second set, it was much of the same with Patrick not able to trouble Rola on serve and the Australian exited at the semifinal stage.
Kokkinakis and Rola are facing each other for the first time. 28-year-old Rola is ranked at no. 262 and he is playing his third final of the year on the Challenger tour after losing to Carlos Berlocq in the $50,000 Panama City event in April and to Malek Jaziri in the $75,000 Qujing, China tournament. Rola won the Tallahassee $75,000 title in 2017 after qualifying for the event. He also won the Santos, Brazil $50,000 title in 2015 and the $50,000 Guangzhou title in 2014. Rola has been as high as 78 on the ATP rankings.
Kokkinakis is looking for his second ATP Challenger title in 2018 after winning the $100,000 Aptos, USA tournament in August. He also has won the Bordeaux €85,000 title in 2015.
Below is a video from the ATP World Tour where Thanasi Kokkinakis reveals his favourite tournaments, most improved aspect of his game and best doubles partner during the Odlum Brown VanOpen, an ATP Challenger Tour event in Vancouver, Canada.