'In tears': Tennis world erupts over Thanasi Kokkinakis epic

Seen here, Thanasi Kokkinakis roars in delight after reaching the final of the Adelaide International.
Thanasi Kokkinakis has a chance to win a maiden ATP Tour title after reaching the final of the Adelaide International. Pic: Getty

Thanasi Kokkinakis has left the tennis world in a frenzy after a stunning semi-final victory at the Adelaide International that the Aussie star described as one of the best moments of his career.

The 25-year-old, plagued by injuries over recent years, sealed a place in the Adelaide decider after coming through a nerve-jangling three-set epic against former US Open champion Marin Cilic on Friday night.

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Kokkinakis squandered six match points and needed to save two of his own before downing Cilic 6-2 3-6 7-6 (12-10).

The Aussie star's roar of delight was only matched in volume by the noise inside the stadium as home fans celebrated Kokkinakis' fairytale triumph.

The win means on Saturday night at Memorial Drive, the dream of claiming a first ATP Tour title could be realised for the home town comeback boy who's been simply the best story in Australian tennis this year.

"It would be massive. Not the be-all, end-all (as) there's a lot of great players that have never won a title (but), for sure, I'm thinking about it," admitted the 25-year-old Kokkinakis, who faces Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech in the Adelaide International final.

Asked where this ranked in his stop-start career, the man who once tamed Roger Federer in Miami, pondered: "Right up there, I think.

"To do it in Adelaide as well, just after kind of the last few years I've had, yeah, I mean it's probably number one.

"I couldn't ask for anything more. To find myself in this position, beating the players I have, like a former grand slam champ, yeah, I'm stoked.

"Beating quality players last week and this week. Proud of my consistency. Proud of my mental effort."

Kokkinakis' victory was celebrated across the tennis world, with many fans left emotional by the incredible scenes that unfolded in Adelaide.

Thanasi Kokkinakis gunning for maiden ATP Tour title

It has been an astonishing start to the year for a player whose struggles with myriad injuries to his shoulder, chest, groin, knee, and elbow have interrupted what had promised to be a dazzling career.

Maybe it still could be as the man who began the year at 171 in the world rankings might jump to within a couple of places of the top hundred should he win the final. The last time he was in that bracket was six years ago.

Kokkinakis reached the semi-final in the first Australian Open warm-up tournament in Adelaide last week and has now made it seven wins in eight matches in 2022 to make his first ATP final for five years.

"I think the biggest thing for my confidence is just being able to back up and do it match after match. That's something that I haven't proven in a long time. To do it in back-to-back weeks is awesome," said Kokkinakis.

Pictured here, Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis reacting to his Adelaide International semi-final win over Marin Cilic.
Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis reacts after beating Marin Cilic in the Adelaide International semi-final. Pic: Getty

He'd actually thought of giving this week's event a miss. "But I can't pass up an opportunity to play another tour event in my hometown," he smiled, admitting that his only problem had been getting enough sleep with all the late night finish excitement.

Now he could go into next week's Open with that maiden title to his name even if he feels world no.58 Rinderknech, another big server, will take all the beating.

with agencies

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