Indian Wells, USA, 10 March 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Thanasi Kokkinakis has powered into the second round at Indian Wells, where he’ll face top-seeded Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.

The 26-year-old Australian earned his place in the main draw at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament as a qualifier and continued his winning run today in the opening round.

Kokkinakis conceded just two points on serve in a dominant 6-4 6-1 victory against American wildcard Brandon Holt, the son of former world No.1 Tracy Austin.

World No.94 Kokkinakis, who has now won nine of his past 10 matches, sealed an impressive victory in 75 minutes. He finished with 26 winners to Holt’s seven.

He’ll next face world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz, the reigning US Open champion. It will be Kokkinakis’ first meeting against the 19-year-old sensation, who last season became the youngest man to ever hold the world No.1 ranking.

Kokkinakis has beaten the top seed before at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament, sensationally upsetting then world No.1 Roger Federer in the second round at Miami in March 2018.

Rinky Hijikata scored his career-first main-draw win at ATP Masters 1000 level today, beating world No.57 Mikael Ymer. The 22-year-old Aussie recovered from a 2-5 deficit in the second set, winning five consecutive games to close out a 6-4 7-5 victory.

World No.130 Hijikata next faces 30th seed Sebastian Baez, who received a first-round bye. The Argentine won his second career ATP clay-court singles title last month, but has a 1-16 win-loss on hard courts in the past year.

In other first-round matches today, Alexei Popyrin made the most of his lucky loser spot in the draw, scoring a 6-4 5-7 6-1 win against China’s Zhang Zhizhen.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka was pushed to three sets by Aussie qualifier Aleksandar Vukic. But the Swiss veteran, a 2017 finalist at the tournament, finished strongly to record a 6-4 1-6 6-1 win.

While Romanian Sorana Cirstea ended the winning run of Aussie qualifier Kimberly Birrell, scoring a 6-3 6-2 victory in women’s singles action.

John Peers and British partner Dan Evans scored an opening-round win in the men’s doubles competition, beating Americans Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul 6-3 6-3.

Aussies in action – Indian Wells

Men’s singles, first round
[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d [Q] Brandon Holt (USA) 6-4 6-1
[Q] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) d Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-4 7-5
[LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d [Q] Zhang Zhizhen (CHN) 6-4 5-7 6-1
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d [Q] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) 6-4 1-6 6-1

Women’s singles, first round
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d [Q] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-3 6-2

Men’s doubles, first round
John Peers (AUS)/Dan Evans (GBR) d Taylor Fritz (USA)/Tommy Paul (USA) 6-3 6-3

Men’s singles, second round
[16] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Marton Fucsovics (HUN)
[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v [1] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)
Jordan Thompson (AUS)
v [2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
Jason Kubler (AUS) v [21] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
[Q] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v [30] Sebastian Baez (ARG)
[LL] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [9] Hubert Hurkacz (POL)

> VIEW: Full Indian Wells men’s singles draw

Women’s doubles, first round
[6] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Paula Badosa (ESP)/Elena Rybakina (KAZ)
[8] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Bianca Andreescu (CAN)/Yulia Putintseva (KAZ)

> VIEW: Full Indian Wells women’s doubles draw

Men’s doubles, first round
Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v Austin Krajicek (USA)/Mackenzie McDonald (USA)
Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Rafael Matos (BRA)/David Vega Hernandez (ESP)

Men’s doubles, second round
John Peers (AUS)/Dan Evans (GBR) v TBC

> VIEW: Full Indian Wells men’s doubles draw

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