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Thanasi Kokkinakis left fuming over crowd act as Aussie tennis players shine

Kokkinakis hit an outrageous winner before turning his attention to fans in the stands.

Sene here, Aussie tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Thanasi Kokkinakis was not happy with the crowd at the Los Cabos Open. Pic: Getty/Tennis TV

Thanasi Kokkinakis has taken aim at tennis fans during the ATP's Los Cabos Open in Mexico during an impressive 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory over World No.103 beat Jack Draper. The Aussie a poor start to 2024 behind him, recovering from a slow start that included an early break for the Brit, to eventually prevail in three sets on a successful day for a number of Aussie players.

Kokkinakis had won only three of his previous seven matches in 2024, with two of those victories coming in qualifying for last week's Delray Beach Open in Florida, where he suffered a crushing first-round defeat. However, the Aussie got his year back on track against Draper in Mexico, even if he didn't have it al his own way.

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The 27-year-old Aussie was broken in the opening game of the three-hour match and went on the drop the first set, before rebounding to take the second in a tiebreak. Things were heating up at the start of the third when Kokkinakis won an absorbing rally from the back court.

Draper appeared to have Kokkinakis pinned in a corner after ripping a forehand crosscourt the Aussie's way. However, Kokkinakis responded by ripping an outrageous two-handed backhand pass to claim the point. The superb winner only drew a lukewarm response from the crowd in Mexico and Kokkinakis clearly thought he deserved a bit more love from fans.

The Aussie shot a few glances towards fans in the stands, before shrugging his shoulders in frustration at the lack of applause from the crowd. An incredulous Kokkinakis could then be heard saying: “They’re golf clapping, nothing,” clearly unimpressed by the unenthusiastic reaction from the crowd.

The winner helped Kokkinakis break Draper in the first game of the decisive set and the Aussie's mood brightened as he went on to claim a moral-boosting win. The Aussie next faces another Brit in the form of Dan Evans in the round of 16 after Evans downed fifth-seeded Russian Roman Safiullin, 6-2 6-4.

Solid wins for a number of Aussie men

Kokkinakis' victory came after fellow Aussie Max Purcell beat Italian Matteo Arnaldi 6-4 4-6 6-4 to book a second round clash against second round against either German Dominik Koepfer or Portugal's Nuno Borges. Another Aussie Chris O'Connell recorded a victory over a top-25 opponent for the first time in ten months, defeating Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4-6-4 at the Qatar Open. O'Connell is ranked 40 places lower than the German but defied the standings to break twice in the first set and then midway through the second, to record a straight-sets victory and book a second round meeting with Emil Ruusuvuori.

Chris O'Connell plays Emil Ruusuvuori (not pictured) in the round of 16 at the Qatar Open. Pic: Getty
Chris O'Connell plays Emil Ruusuvuori (not pictured) in the round of 16 at the Qatar Open. Pic: Getty

Another Aussie Alexei Popyrin's original opponent Tallon Griekspoor withdrew from the Qatar Open, meaning he will play Hugo Grenier on Wednesday after the qualifier beat Max Marterer 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 in the first round. Meantime, Sydneysider Rinky Hijikata opens his campaign against Serbian sixth seed Miomir Kecmanovic on Wednesday with the victor to face Aleksandar Kovacevic, who won the all-US clash with Brandon Holt 6-1 6-4.

Other Aussies in action include World No.9 Alex de Minaur, who plays American teenager Alex Michelsen at Los Cabos. Compatriot and eighth seed Jordan Thompson takes on Ernesto Escobedo and Aleksander Vukic faces off against Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez in an eventful day for the Aussie men's contingent.

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