Kokkinakis Sets Federer Clash At Miami Open

Thanasi Kokkinakis (photo: Brigitte Urban)

MIAMI, March 23, 2018

The top half of the men’s draw was in first round action on Thursday at the Miami Open presented by Itaú. Australian young gun Thanasi Kokkinakis eased past Frenchman Calvin Hemery 6-1, 6-2 in a match between two qualifiers.

The 21-year-old from Adelaide withstood 11 aces, and saved all three break points he faced, winning 60 per cent of the total points played to seal victory in 65 minutes.

Kokkinakis will next face World No. 1 Roger Federer, who will open his title defence at Crandon Park on Saturday. The 36-year-old Swiss is making his 17th Miami Open appearance and first as World No. 1 since 2010. Federer is 50-13 lifetime in Miami and coming off a runner-up showing in Indian Wells, where his career-best 17-0 start to a season ended in the final.

“I’m happy about how I played and how I felt afterwards,” Federer told about losing the BNP Paribas Open title match to Juan Martin Del Potro last Sunday. “Didn’t take me a whole lot of time to get over it, to be honest, because I felt like it could have gone either way. Unfortunately I wasn’t on the winner’s side because maybe I have had enough luck throughout the last 14 months on my side of the court, so it’s OK to lose some.”

Federer and Kokkinakis will meet for the first time.

One day to remember for Nicola Kuhn

On Court 7, wild card entry Nicola Kuhn secured his first match win on the ATP World Tour, edging out Darian King of Barbados 7-6, 6-4. The teenager, who celebrated his 18th birthday three days ago, saved six of the seven break points he face, converting two of his own to advance in one hour and 42 minutes.

“This is a special day for me,” Kuhn said following his win. “It was a very tough match. I’m happy with today’s victory, but now I need to focus on my next match.”

Kuhn has become the youngest Spaniard to win an ATP World Tour match since 17-year-old Rafael Nadal defeated 17-year-old Richard Gasquet in 2004 in Estoril. He will next challenge No. 15 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy.

Photo Gallery (by Brigitte Urban):