Miami, USA, 26 March 2021 | Leigh Rogers

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Jordan Thompson have made winning starts to their Miami Open campaigns, as has world No.1 Ash Barty.

Barty, the defending champion, fought back from the brink of defeat against Slovakian qualifier Kristina Kucova.

Kucova, the world No.149, had a match point on serve at 3-6 6-4 5-3 – but Barty fired a forehand return winner and then reeled off the final four games of the match to record a stunning victory.

It was a steely effort from the 24-year-old Australian, who also recovered from a 0-40 deficit on serve in the final game to close out victory in two hours and 27 minutes.

“Never give up, you’re always in with a chance,” Barty said.

“I just stayed in the moment and never gave up. I just kept trying to find a way.”

Kokkinakis continued his good form, with the qualifier winning his third consecutive straight-sets match.

The world No.243 scored a 6-3 6-3 victory against Japan’s Shintaro Mochizuki. It is Kokkinakis’ first ATP Masters 1000 main draw match win since upsetting world No.1 Roger Federer at Miami in 2018.

Jordan Thompson has also advanced to the second round. The world No.60 won a hard-fought battle against Argentine Federico Delbonis in two hours and 12 minutes.

Five Australian men are now through to the second round in Miami. This is the most since 2001.

Chris O’Connell won’t be joining them after losing a tough opening-round encounter with Portugal’s Joao Sousa. The Aussie saved three match points in the second set, but ultimately lost in three sets.

Aussies in action – Miami

Men’s singles, first round
Jordan Thompson (AUS) d Federico Delbonis (ARG) 7-6(4) 6-4
[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d [Q] Shintaro Mochizuki (JPN) 6-3 6-3
Joao Sousa (POR) d Chris O’Connell (AUS) 7-6(6) 6-7(8) 7-5

Women’s singles, second round
[1] Ash Barty (AUS) d [Q] Kristina Kucova (SVK) 6-3 4-6 7-5

Men’s singles, second round
[15] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Daniel Elahi Galan (COL)
James Duckworth (AUS) v [8] David Goffin (BEL)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [12] Milos Raonic (CAN)
[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)
v [29] Marton Fucsovics (HUN)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [30] Reilly Opelka (USA)

Women’s singles, second round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v [2] Naomi Osaka (JPN)
[WC] Storm Sanders (AUS) v [29] Jessica Pegula (USA)

Women’s singles, third round
[1] Ash Barty (AUS) v Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)

Men’s doubles, first round
Luke Saville (AUS)/Oliver Marach (AUT) v Kevin Krawietz (GER)/Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)

Women’s doubles, first round
Ellen Perez (AUS)/Zheng Saisai (CHN) v [4] Timea Babos (HUN)/Veronika Kudermetova (RUS)
Ash Barty (AUS)/Jennifer Brady (USA) v Lucie Hradecka (CZE)/Kristyna Pliskova (CZE)
Storm Sanders (AUS)/Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) v Vania King (USA)/Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)
[WC] Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)/Heather Watson (GBR) v Anna Kalinskaya (RUS)/Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK)