Kokkinakis savours Challenger triumph

·1-min read

Thanasi Kokkinakis has enjoyed his first ATP Challenger tournament victory since October 2018 as he rebuilds his once hugely promising career and tunes up for a crack at French Open qualifying.

The Australian, who was once ranked as high as 69 as a teenage prospect but has seen his career cruelly blighted by injuries, secured a 6-3 6-4 win over third seed Enzo Couacaud in the clay-court final in Biella, northern Italy, on Saturday.

Now 25 and ranked 198th in the world, Kokkinakis still has a big game and conceded only seven points on serve as he swept to victory in 73 minutes.

When he kicks off qualifying at Roland Garros next week, his ranking is set to be back at 180 as he attempts to make the main draw of the grand slam where he enjoyed his best success in 2015, reaching the third round.

It was a fourth career ATP Challenger title victory for the man from Adelaide and his second on clay, following victory in Bordeaux in May 2015.

Australian tennis will be rooting for Kokkinakis, who's had absolutely no luck in his career with injuries that have included stress fractures in his back as a teenager and knee, groin, shoulder and pectoral problems in the years since.

Having also been hospitalised by glandular fever, there were times when he has considered quitting the game but the talent which saw him beat Roger Federer in Miami just three years ago still promises much.

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