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Thanasi Kokkinakis wins in Wimbledon to set up clash with Novak Djokovic


Thanasi Kokkinakis “can’t wait” after breaking his Wimbledon hoodoo to set up a second-round blockbuster with three-time defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic.

Five long years since his last appearance at the All England Club, Kokkinakis continued his 2022 renaissance with a watershed 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 7-5 victory over Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak overnight.

After two previous first-round defeats, plus two unsuccessful qualifying campaigns, the 26-year-old is finally savouring his maiden win on London’s hallowed grass courts.

The South Australian’s rich reward is a show-court clash on Wednesday with Djokovic, the 20-times grand slam champion who’s chasing a seventh Wimbledon crown.

“Can’t wait. Can’t wait for the opportunity,” Kokkinakis said.

“Definitely was in the back of my mind playing that match. I obviously saw the draw.

“I’m not one of those people that doesn’t look ahead. I knew I had a tough match obviously first, but definitely knew what was at stake.”

Djokovic earlier opened his title bid with a scratchy 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Korean Kwon Soon-woo under a closed roof on centre court.

Kokkinakis, who also landed his maiden ATP title in January in Adelaide, was the only Australian winner on a rain-marred first day of the championships.

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James Duckworth’s much-anticipated centre-court battle ended in a gallant 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 defeat to Britain’s two-time Wimbledon champion and former world number one Andy Murray.

John Millman bowed out with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to Serbia’s 25th seed Miomir Kecmanović, while brave Sydney qualifier Max Purcell fell to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in a three-hour, 53-minute epic.

Playing with a lost big toenail on his right foot, Purcell rallied back from two sets down to force a decider, only to succumb 6-3, 7-6 (7-0), 4-6, 4-6, 6-4 in his first-ever five-set encounter.

Maddison Inglis couldn’t extend her run from qualifying either, going down 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to Hungarian Dalma Gálfi.

Astra Sharma will resume her tussle with Germany’s Tatjana Maria on Tuesday after the match was suspended under fading light at one set apiece, with the Australian to serve at 6-4, 3-6.

Fellow qualifier Zoe Hives and wildcard Daria Saville had their scheduled matches postponed until day two.


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