Kokkinakis chasing US Open main-draw berth

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Thanasi Kokkinakis will make yet another attempt to revive his flagging grand slam career when the luckless star launches his US Open qualifying campaign in New York on Wednesday.

Eyeing his first main-draw appearance at an international major in two years, Kokkinakis faces American Bjorn Fratangelo in what the one-time Australian Davis Cup star hopes is three successful qualifying matches at Flushing Meadows.

A catalogue of knee, shoulder, back, groin, pectoral muscle and other assorted injuries have consigned Kokkinakis to bit-part player on the world tour in recent years.

His most recent grand-slam main-draw appearance outside of Australia, where he has mostly relied on wildcard entries, came in 2019 when, typically, he was forced to pull out of a scheduled second-round US Open blockbuster with Rafael Nadal because of a shoulder injury.

Kokkinakis has endured another largely frustrating season after 2021 started so promisingly when he pushed world No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the second round of the rescheduled Australian Open in February.

The junior runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2013 to Nick Kyrgios and Roger Federer slayer just two years ago in Miami, Kokkinakis was among 10 Australians contesting US Open qualifying.

Chris O'Connell, who reached the second round last year and was rewarded with a showcourt match-up with world No.1 Novak Djokovic, and Marc Polmans also open their men's campaigns on Wednesday.

The trio are hoping to join former quarter-finalists Alex de Minaur and John Millman, Jordan Thompson, Nick Kyrgios, James Duckworth, Alexei Popyrin and wildcard Max Purcell in the Open men's singles.

Looking to boost Australia's women's contingent headed by world No.1 Ash Barty and Wimbledon quarter-finalist Ajla Tomljanovic, Lizette Cabrera and Jamie Fourlis also play first-round qualifiers on Wednesday.

Veteran former US Open champion Samantha Stosur is also in the 2021 main draw courtesy of an injury-protected ranking, while Storm Sanders nabbed a wildcard.

Astra Sharma is already through to the second round of qualifying with a 7-5 7-6 (7-5) win over Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmoza on Tuesday.

But Ellen Perez, Maddison Inglis, Arina Rodionova and Matt Ebden crashed out.

The season's final grand slam starts on Tuesday (AEST), with the draw taking place early Friday morning.

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