Thanasi Kokkinakis has made an impact at this year’s edition of the Australian Open, prevailing in his final qualifying match against Canadian Peter Polansky on Friday 6-4, 6-4. It was his second win over the Canadian in recent weeks, following straight sets win at the Brisbane International.
There is the chance of a first round match-up against tournament favourite Novac Djokovic or eight seed Kei Nishikori as both have been drawn to play in the qualifiers.
The 21-year-old from Pylos made the opening qualifying games look easy as he blew away his opponents, not even losing a single set.
His first game was against Egyptian Mohamed Safwat, which he won 6-2, 7-6, while on Thursday he defeated Austrian Sebastian Ofner, 6-4, 7-6.
In the women’s singles, Valentini Grammatikopoulou made a strong statement with her opening performance against Romanian Irina Bara, as she defeated her rather easily, 6-3, 6-2.
Jaime Fourlis had a stroke of bad luck in her draw, as she was made to play against former world number 24 Christina McHale and lost the game without much of a contest, 4-6, 2-6.
Raluca Serban put up a good fight but ultimately couldn’t take down the obstacle that was Chinese athlete Xu Shilin, losing 3-6, 6-3, 3-6.
However the greatest upset came from former Cypriot legend Markos Baghdatis, who dropped out from the competition in just his opening game against Darian King from Barbados.
Former world number eight was shocked to lose the opening set rather easily and just when he appeared to bounce back, winning the second set and heading into the deciding third one, he lacked the energy to go on, giving an easy win to his aspiring opponent, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6.
Kokkinakis joins Nick Kyrgios, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari who have already sealed a place thanks to their worldwide rankings.