Thanasi Kokkinakis makes stunning return after Australian Open heartbreak
The Aussie will climb to World No.100 after the stunning victory.
Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis is projected to rejoin the World's Top 100 players after winning an ATP Challenger event in Bahrain. Kokkinakis won the 2022 Australian Open doubles title with Nick Kyrgios, but has struggled for singles form since the epic grand slam triumph.
The Aussie left the tennis world stunned after an epic five-set loss against Andy Murray in the second round of the Australian Open. And continuing his strong form, Kokkinakis has won the Manama in Bahrain after defeating Abedallah Shelbayh 6-1, 6-4 in the final.
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Kokkinakis defeated fellow countryman Alexei Popyrin along the way to his fifth ATP Challenger title event in his career. And even better news, the 26-year-old will now enter the World Top 100 at exactly 100 after picking up the points from the challenger event.
He will climb more than 41 ranking spots. The win improves Kokkinakis' season record to 10 singles win from 13 matches, which includes five wins against Top 100 players.
The victory will help him set-up the year as he aims to climb the rankings to gain automatic qualification to events ATP Tour events. Fans were quick to praise the much needed triumph for Kokkinakis.
Good news https://t.co/zEdUCfUux3
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 19, 2023
🇦🇺 Thanasi Kokkinakis has claimed his fifth career ATP Challenger singles title, with a win at the @moi_bahrain! 💪🔥
The title sees Kokkinakis propel himself back into the top 100 of the ATP Rankings, up 41 spots to 100. ⬆️👏#TheFirstServe pic.twitter.com/qTlEktlRSy
— The First Serve (@TheFirstServeAU) February 19, 2023
Manama Ch F: THANASI KOKKINAKIS IS BACK IN THE TOP 100, EVERYONE!!! Exactly at number 100 after d. Abedallah Shelbayh 6-1, 6-4.
As oomf suggested, rip intensity even if Shelbayh tried to raise his level. What a convincing run here 🔥
🎥 @ATPChallenger pic.twitter.com/xiFo33aOjc
— stateofsport21 // raz (she/her) (@eretzsport022) February 19, 2023
🇦🇺Thanasi Kokkinakis was close to falling outside the top 200 in Adelaide.
He’s now back inside the top 100 after a Challenger 🏆 in Bahrain.
Sets up his year in a big way. pic.twitter.com/JK2jsS4k32
— Connor Joyce (@connorjoyceb) February 19, 2023
The ATP points available from winning Challenger titles can be seriously valuable.
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Max Purcell earned 125 and 100 points respectively this week.
Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur has earned 100+ points just twice in his last 18 events.
— Connor Joyce (@connorjoyceb) February 20, 2023
He perfectly did his job, which is getting points and making his ATP ranking higher. Yes he did! 🔥🏆❤️ https://t.co/kng5h2ukU7
— Thanasi Kokkinakis Fans (@FanofKokk) February 19, 2023
Thanasi Kokkinakis was ranked 141 this time last week.
He’s just cracked the Top 100 with his win at the Manama challenger.
I don’t think I could be any more prouder than what I am now. So much love ❤️ @TKokkinakis pic.twitter.com/KeARo9k6e2
— shreya ⚡ (@cokeinakis) February 19, 2023
Aussie Max Purcell also wins Challenger Event
Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Max Purcell also won his Challenger event in Chennai. Purcell saved two match points against American Nicolas Moreno de Alboran as he won 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 in a three hour epic. Purcell has now won three Challenger events.
Purcell will also rise into the World Top 160 after the win. The reigning WImbledon doubles champion said singles would be a priority this year as he hopes to climb the rankings.
Elsewhere, Alex de Minaur suffered a brutal quarter-final defeat to Grigor Dimitrov at the Rotterdam Open after failing to convert two match points. The Aussie was handed the most wretched 24th birthday present in the Netherlands after failing to see out victory against the plucky Bulgarian.
It was a deflating end to what had been such a promising week for the Australian No.2, who came so close to a third tremendous win in just three days after being presented with a daunting draw.
Elsewhere, World No.2 Carlos Alcaraz has made a stunning return from a four-month layoff to win the Argentina Open after defeating Cameron Norrie in the final. The 19-year-old sensation missed the Australian Open this year after withdrawing due to an ongoing leg injury from the end of 2022.
However, after four months on the sideline he returned to Buenos Aires last week at the Argentina Open. And after relinquishing the World No.1 ranking to Novak Djokovic, Alcaraz has made a statement in his return after winning his seventh ATP title having only dropped one set.
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