Thanasi Kokkinakis continues remarkable form in Indian Wells demolition

The Aussie player came through qualifying to make the main draw of the ATP 1000 tournament.

Thanasi Kokkinakis, pictured here after beating Brandon Holt at Indian Wells.
Thanasi Kokkinakis was too good for Brandon Holt at Indian Wells. Image: Getty/ATP

Thanasi Kokkinakis has continued his brilliant run of form at Indian Wells, blitzing American player Brandon Holt in a straight-sets victory on Thursday. The World No.94, who advanced to the main draw of the ATP 1000 tournament through qualifying, produced nine aces in the 6-4 6-1 victory to make the round of 64.

Kokkinakis forced 10 break-point opportunities throughout the match and converted four of them, leaving his American opponent with little answer. Holt, who appeared to be battling illness in the Californian heat, didn't muster a single break point against the Australian.

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Kokkinakis will need to be at his best in the next round, where he will take on top seed Carlos Alcaraz. The Spaniard was recently dethroned as World No.1 by Novak Djokovic, but the Serb was forced to withdraw from Indian Wells before the tournament began.

Kokkinakis has been in a rich vein of form so far in 2023. He went down to Andy Murray in the second round of the Australian Open in a five-set thriller that finished at 4am, before winning an ATP Challenger event in Bahrain last month that saw him return to the top 100.

Thanasi Kokkinakis, pictured here in action against Brandon Holt at Indian Wells.
Thanasi Kokkinakis in action against Brandon Holt at Indian Wells. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) (Harry How via Getty Images)

The Aussie star's win on Thursday came after Jordan Thompson and Jason Kubler also recorded victories on Wednesday. Thompson took just 65 minutes to sweep aside two-time grand slam semi-finalist Gael Monfils 6-3 6-1 in the opening round. Kubler earlier defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 7-6 (7-4).

Aleksander Vukic was the other Aussie in action on Thursday, but the qualifier couldn't get past three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss champion is playing at Indian Wells for the first time in four years after a lengthy absence due to injuries.

The former World No.3 is now ranked 100th in the world. He has had two left knee and two left foot surgeries since he reached the finals at Indian Wells and the French Open in 2017.

Wawrinka hit 10 aces and won 28 of 33 first-serve points on Thursday against Vukic. His previous match at the hard-court tournament in the Californian desert was a loss to Roger Federer in the third round in 2019.

Emma Raducanu prevails after more wrist issues

Meanwhile, former US Open champion Emma Raducanu rallied from a break down in each set to beat Danka Kovinic 6-2 6-3. Raducanu managed to avenge her second-round loss to Kovinic at the 2022 Australian Open, continuing her fightback from a number of different ailments that have slowed her progress so far this year.

Raducanu ended her 2022 season early with a wrist problem, and then suffered an ankle injury in her second match of 2023 in Auckland. She pulled out of the WTA event in Austin last week with tonsillitis, before withdrawing from a pre-tournament exhibition at Indian Wells when her wrist trouble flared up again.

"It was a good match for me to get through," said Raducanu, who was down 0-2 in both sets. "I played her at AO and it was quite the battle. I'm happy I stuck in."

In other results, Jack Draper overcame qualifier Leandro Riedi 6-1 6-1 to set up an all-British matchup against No.24 Dan Evans, while Mackenzie McDonald defeated Filip Krajinovic 6-3 6-0. American Ben Shelton defeated Italian veteran Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-1 to set up a meeting with defending champion Taylor Fritz.

And Danielle Collins dropped a second-straight decision against an opponent ranked outside the top 50. The 2022 Australian Open runner-up lost 6-4 6-4 to 80th-ranked lucky loser Dalma Galfi.

with agencies

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