The Adelaide native Thanasi Kokkinakis received a wild card for the home event ahead of the Australian Open. Struggling with injuries, Kokkinakis delivered his last ATP victory in March 2021. The Aussie raised his level in front of the partisan crowd and passed all the obstacles to go all the way and lift his first ATP title at 25.
Kokkinakis crushed Benoit Paire in the first round and faced John Isner in the second. It was an incredible battle, and the Aussie prevailed in three tie breaks for a place in the quarter-final. Aleksandar Vukic won the opening set before Thanasi shifted into a higher gear and earned a 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory that sent him into the last four.
The home favorite had to dig deep in the semi-final against Marin Cilic.
Thanasi Kokkinakis claimed the first ATP title at home in Adelaide.
Kokkinakis saved two match points and prevailed 12-10 in the deciding tie break to book a place in his second ATP final.
Thanasi wasted four match points at 6-2 and lost five straight points to face a match point. Cilic squandered it on his serve, and Kokkinakis denied the second with an ace at 7-8. Marin denied two more match points, six in total before Thanasi earned the seventh at 10-10.
The Croat netted a forehand to propel the Aussie through after a cracker. Kokkinakis met Arthur Rinderknech in the title clash and earned a tight 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 victory in two hours and 38 minutes for his first ATP title. Thanasi lost only 17 points behind the initial shot and never faced a break point.
However, he had to dig deep to survive the second set and force a decider. The Frenchman saved a set point in the opening set tie break and claimed it 8-6. There were no breaks in set number two as well, and Kokkinakis had to win a tie break to stay alive.
He clinched it 7-5 with a service winner to force a decider after an hour and 57 minutes. The crowd gave their player a massive boost, and he grabbed a break at the start of the second set. The Aussie opened a 5-3 gap with a forehand winner in game eight, with his rival serving to stay in the match in the next one.
Kokkinakis broke for the second time to seal the deal and start an emotional celebration of his proudest moment in a career.