Kokkinakis Closing In On US Open Qualification

Thanasi Kokkinakis is edging closer to a US Open Grand Slam debut after winning his first-round qualifying match.

Behind in the third set, the 18-year-old fought back to send home Croatian Nikola Mekti 6-3 4-6 6-4 just days away from the August 25 kick off at Flushing Meadows.

The 2014 first-round Australian Open winner fended off a massive collapse after giving away a 4-1 second set advantage to lose seven straight games before finally regaining his rhythm in the decider.

The world no.185 moves on for a date with fellow teenager Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan after his upset of fifth seed Horacio Zeballos.

Kokkinakis will be joined by James Duckworth and Arina Rodionova in the second round while fellow Aussies Alex Bolt, Matt Reid, Ben Mitchell and John-Patrick Smith all made early exits.

12 aces helped Duckworth dispatch of Frenchman Axel Michon 6-3 5-7 6-2. He faces American wildcard Ernesto Escobedo in the next round. Rodionova edged China’s Lin Zhu 7-5 4-6 6-4.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have been named the top two seeds for the men’s singles event next week after a wrist injury forced would-be second seed Rafael Nadal out of the event.

None of Australia’s six men- Lleyton Hewitt, Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic, Marinko Matosevic, Sam Groth and Matt Ebden– are seeded. 

Photo: Jean-Sebastian Evard/Getty Images


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