Quite possibly Thanasi Kokkinakis’s most impressive attributes are his ability to stay calm, and always pick the right ball.
Never was this more apparent than with his encounter against junior Davis Cup teammate Daniel Guccione. For if it weren’t for a few periods where Kokkinakis took control of the Guccione serve and in doing so upset his power game, these two players might well still be on court.
When Guccione served well he usually won his games with ease. If his big serve was returned, often he followed up with a quick and devastating put away. The problem was even when Guccione read the delivery of Kokkinakis he usually failed in his attempt to maintain the advantage from the baseline.
“He is a big confidence player so I had to get him down early and defending,” said Kokkinakis who never let up after breaking from the outset. From this moment Guccione was always chasing.
The one break was all Kokkinakis needed to claim the first set. The changeover prompted Guccione to change his white grip in the hope of getting a grip. As usual Kokkinakis, dressed in a black and grey polo shirt, was fast out of his chair and waiting. Guccione adjusted his hat then strolled onto court for the second set, casually checking his racquet, before serving out a first game that included three aces.
Kokkinakis responded quickly with his own confident play, proving he was still in control with a love game of his own.
At two games all, and after another grip tinkering by Guccione, Kokkinakis found the break he was looking for to go up 3-2. The big serve of Guccione was now faltering while the precision and baseline dominance of Kokkinakis was improving point by point. Subsequently Kokkinakis held his following serve to love and was steamrolling.
A reprisal of sorts was evident as Guccione screamed aloud winning his next game to love with some beautiful serve and volley play. Kokkinakis was then pushed on his service game at 4-3 up and pressed to deuce for what felt like the first time all afternoon.
As expected the Kokkinakis consistency, mental strength and ensuing power forehand won through. At 5-3 up he was presented with the match 6-4 6-3 after Guccione tried some desperate net rushing that was ultimately futile.