Thanasi Kokkinakis who first came to the public notice at the same time as his friend Nick Kyrgios but has suffered a series of injuries which have held him back, has finally started to make inroads back up the ladder by reaching his second consecutive semi-final in Adelaide.
I heard eye drops helped. It’s actually the first time I’ve ever used them in a match. It cleared up my vision better than I thought. I’m happy. Maybe I’ll give the physio a little cut Thanasi Kokkinakis
He booked his place in the lats four by defeating fellow Aussie and wildcard, Aleksandar Vukic 6-7(5) 6-3 6-2 after ousting the second seed John Isner 6-7(5) 7-6(5) 7-6(4) in the previous round.
His reward is a meeting with the 2014 US Open champion and world No,29, Marin Cilic, the fourth seed and only seed left in the draw, who in turn overcame the American Tommy Paul 6-4 2-6 6-3.
It would have been a much quicker match for the world No.145, if he had converted one of the numerous break point opportunities he held.
“Don’t remind me, I was counting them to myself every time they were going by,” Kokkinakis said during his on-court interview when asked about those missed break point opportunities.
“I felt like I could have won the first set 6-1 or 6-2.
“He was coming up with some good serves, I was being a little bit tentative, I was trying not to lose my marbles completely.
“And then, 2-1 in the second set, I was 0-11, I was really about to lose it.
“Thankfully I took one and eventually I let it go and started playing good tennis from the second onwards.”
As he said, Kokkinakis had opportunities galore in the opening set, but failed to convert any of his nine break-point chances.
Vukic created just one break point chance, which he couldn’t convert either, but he held his nerve during the tiebreak to secure the set in 65 minutes.
“My concentration was going. I felt really flat on energy,” Kokkinakis explained.
“I felt like I was losing the ball … I was picking it up real late. I felt a little bit dizzy.
“I heard eye drops helped. It’s actually the first time I’ve ever used them in a match. It cleared up my vision better than I thought.
“I’m happy. Maybe I’ll give the physio a little cut (of my winnings)!”
Kokkinakis’ frustrations grew early in the second set as he blew his 10th and 11th break point opportunities.
He celebrated when he finally converted to go 5-3 up in the second, and then reeled off eight of the final 10 games of the match to secure the victory after two=hours and 13-minutes.
Corentin Moutet and Arthur Rinderknech will face off in the other semi-final.