Thanasi Kokkinakis’ rich form vein continued with a straight set victory over Benoit Paire at Adelaide International Two
Thanasi Kokkinakis picked up where he left off at the inaugural Adelaide International last week with another impressive victory in the second edition of his hometown tournament.
Talented but erratic Frenchman Benoit Paire threatened Kokkinakis’ chances of maintaining his momentum.
But the South Australian, fresh out of a semi-final just days ago, delivered a mature performance as Paire imploded midway through the first set in a 6-4 6-0 result .
Last week’s posting saw Kokkinakis climb 26 spots and return to the top 150 for the first time in three years at No.145, and his ranking will rise again.
“Playing Pair was always going to be tricky. You never know what you’re going to get, ”Kokkinakis said.
“(He’s) super talented, can shoot from anywhere – like he did in that last game – so you kind of have to weather the storm a bit.
“But after a good race last week I was pretty exhausted – I’m not going to lie – but I thought another one in my hometown was a perfect situation.
“It was kind of a win-win for me almost. If I win, perfect, I get more matches. Otherwise, I arrive in Melbourne and prepare for the Aussie Open, but I am delighted with the victory.
Kokkinakis scored 15 straight serve points at one point and ultimately 19 of 20 to give himself a set advantage, with Paire’s frustration overflowing and his resistance diminishing.
No statistic summarized the events of the first set better than Kokkinakis committing only two direct errors against 20 for Paire, 45th.
The turning point break came when Paire attempted a misguided drop shot in the seventh game that arose for Kokkinakis to put in a single forehand.
Pair only won one more game for the night, with their effort seriously questionable down the home stretch, as is too often the case.
From the moment he got into that frame of mind he started rushing between points on serve, detected a code violation and even packed his racket bag before what turned out to be the game. final.
A loose final setback from Paire sealed Kokkinakis’ passage to the second round, where he will face imposing American second seed John Isner in what should be a much tougher test.
“Me and John are actually pretty close – we were together at the Laver Cup a few years ago,” Kokkinakis said.
” He’s a good guy. Obviously he’s a giant and he has some of the best, if not the best, touring service. I hope I have a few chances and when I get them I have to be there to seize them.
“I have to take care of my service, first and foremost, and keep grinding. It’s hard. Sometimes he’ll take the racket out of your hand, but we’ll see what happens.