Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) def Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis has produced a stunning display of tennis to dispatch Italian veteran Fabio Fognini and progress to the second round of the Australian Open.
The 26-year-old was made to wait for his first singles victory at Melbourne Park in two years, after rain delays initially halted the contest late on Tuesday.
Leading by two sets and needing just five points to secure the win, play was suspended on Kia Arena to the disappointment of a boisterous Aussie crowd.
“I would have loved to have gotten that finished sort of late last night, even if we stayed a bit longer”, Kokkinakis said in his press conference.
“I didn't get much sleep. I've never been in that sort of position before. But, [I] just tried to stay focused and worry about myself.”
Further rain delays on Wednesday meant Kokkinakis did not get back on court until after 8pm, before finally securing a straight sets victory.
It is the fourth time that the South Australian has booked his place in the Australian Open round of 64.
“I thought mentally I was in a good spot coming out from the start," Kokkinakis said.
“I'm playing good. I served well. I felt like I really didn't give him any chances.”
After a disappointing result last year following his maiden ATP title in Adelaide, Kokkinakis enjoyed an extra few days to refresh in 2023 before commencing his Grand Slam campaign.
The former World No.69 will now face Andy Murray tomorrow on Margaret Court Arena after the three-time major champion overcame Italian Matteo Berrettini in five sets.
Kokkinakis discussed the matchup with Murray, having played the Brit once before in the 2015 Davis Cup where he went down 6-3, 6-0, 6-3.
“It's going to be a tough match obviously. I watched a fair bit of his match against Berrettini, and he played great. He is looking in good shape.”
“I'm going to be ready for the best version of Murray. I'm going to go out there and play my game, play aggressive, and hopefully come out best.”