Australians Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alexei Popyrin have battled in an all-Aussie, all-Wildcard match in a night session in Adelaide.
Kokkinakis is the defending champion after his fairytale run last year. Popyrin had come off a good win over Felix Auger Aliassime last week.
Popyrin looked missing in action in the first set. He lost 6-0 and many wondered what had happened.
He did manage to lift his game and a huge error from Kokkinakis when he missed a smash on a break point kept Popyrin in the match.
Popyrin would fight back to take the second set after Kokkinakis let that error get to him, and another one a bit later.
Kokkinakis looked to be on the way to defeat after dropping serve early in the third set but a bad service game from Popyrin let him back into the match.
In the end it was Popyrin’s lack of execution on break points when looking at a second serve. He hit too many long and Kokkinakis lifted on the back of the home crowd.
Next he will face the no. 1 seed Andrey Rublev. A match he needs to win to help rebuild his ranking. Kokkinakis is down to no. 190 on the live rankings after dropping the 250 points from his 2022 title in Adelaide.