Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis has fought hard in front of his hometown fans in Adelaide to defeat Mikael Ymer of Sweden.
The 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-4 victory takes Kokkinakis into an ATP semifinal for just the second time in his career.
The world no. 171 was awarded a wildcard to take part in the ATP 250 tournament in Adelaide. He will next play the no. 1 seed Gael Monfils of France.
“It’s going to be a fun match. He brings so much energy and he (Monfils) was probably my favourite player when I was growing up so it’s going be a lot of fun.”
Ymer was like the roadrunner at times. He was everywhere. One point saw him chase down a smash that had a huge angle and Ymer was almost in the stands as he hit it back.
The first set was hotly contested with neither player earning a breakpoint. In the end, it came to a tiebreaker that saw the score at 9-9 before Kokkinakis edged ahead 11-9 to claim the set.
Ymer hit back in the second set after getting the only break of the set.
In the third set, it was Kokkinakis that jumped out to an early lead before conceding the break.
The Australian was able to hold his nerve while Ymer faltered late. He served a double fault to hand Kokkinakis a match point.
The match was over and the Australian let out a roar, as did the crowd.
“(It) really got me through.” Kokkinakis said on-court post-match. “I felt like I was playing a human brick wall, so the support means the world.”
Ymer made Kokkinakis work very hard for the win.
Kokkinakis had his best-ever win at the 2018 Miami Masters 1000 when in the round of 64 he defeated then world no. 1 Roger Federer.
His last semifinal at this level was at the 2017 Los Cabos ATP 250 tournament where Kokkinakis defeated Tomas Berdych before losing to Sam Querrey in the final.