Rising Australian tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis was prepared for everything during his US Open qualifying first round match against Bernard Tomic as he said post-match that the former world No. 17 is a tricky player and certainly knows how to play tennis.
The 22-year-old struggled early on as he lost the opening set but then made an impressive comeback to beat 25-year-old Tomic 3-6 6-0 6-3 to set up a second round meeting against Yannick Maden. Three-time ATP champion Tomic was bidding to continue his run at the beginning of the second set -- but Kokkinakis saved two break points in the opening game of the set.
The first game of the second set proved to be the turning point of the match as Kokkinakis won the second set by a 6-0 score and opened the decider with a 3-0 lead before Tomic won the fourth game to put an end to the 22-year-old's nine-game run.
Tomic beat Kokkinakis at the Brisbane International in 2015 and a few months later at the Indian Wells Masters before he lost to his younger compatriot at the French Open in 2015 May. Tomic and Kokkinakis recently clashed against each other at The Boodles exhibition -- where the 22-year-old beat the 25-year-old in straight sets.
was kind of expecting something strange, playing Bernie, it’s obviously weird playing a friend, and someone that plays like him,” Kokkinakis told Sport360. "I came out very average, he (Tomic) kind of takes the energy out of matches so it's tough to keep your energy up.
He's a tricky player, he knows how to play the game. The three double faults didn't help in my first service game and that kind of didn't really get me going. Towards the end of the first set, I started to find a little bit of rhythm.
Big hold first game of the second set and then I started to find it," Kokkinakis said. Also read: Madrid to host Davis Cup finals in 2019 and 2020