Melbourne, Australia, 18 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

It proved a challenging day for local contenders at Australian Open 2024, with Thanasi Kokkinakis and Max Purcell bowing out in second-round men’s singles action.

World No.13 Grigor Dimitrov powered to a 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory against Kokkinakis, striking 68 winners to 40 in their meeting at John Cain Arena.

“It was tough. He is playing incredible tennis at the moment,” world No.80 Kokkinakis conceded.

“He was a better player for sure for the first two sets. The first set was probably closer than 6-3. I had a lot of break points to kind of make it a real contest. But he was playing great. I felt like I couldn’t get the ball past him.

“I fought hard, scraping, sneaking out the third set. The fourth set was a tussle. Got broken from 40-15, which is disappointing.

“(But) he better player won. He is playing great.”

Purcell tallied 93 winners in his showdown with Norway’s Casper Ruud, but even that wasn’t enough to stop the 11th seed.

Ruud held off Purcell’s charge in a 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 3-6 7-6(7) thriller at Margaret Court Arena.

“Definitely committed to a more aggressive game style today. I was happy that I kind of continued it throughout the whole four-hour match and got so close,” the 25-year-old Australian said.

“(It’s) something I haven’t done a whole lot of in my career. But yeah, no regrets. Great match with Casper. Looking to take that confidence into the rest of the season.”

These results leave Alex de Minaur as the last remaining Australian in this year’s men’s singles competition.

The world No.10 faces Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli, a 21-year-old ranked No.100, in the third round tomorrow.

> BUY NOW: Australian Open 2024 tickets

Ajla Tomljanovic’s return in the women’s singles competition also came to an end, but not without putting up a gallant fight against world No.10 Jelena Ostapenko.

The Latvian recorded a 6-0 3-6 6-4 victory in a late-night clash at John Cain Arena.

Aussies in action – Australian Open

Men’s singles, second round
[11] Casper Ruud (NOR) d Max Purcell (AUS) 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 3-6 7-6(7)
[13] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4

Women’s singles, second round
[11] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) d Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-0 3-6 6-4

> READ: Millman extends Australian Open farewell with thrilling doubles victory

Men’s singles, third round
[10] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v [Q] Flavio Cobolli (ITA)

Women’s singles, third round
[Q] Storm Hunter (AUS) v [9] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2024 men’s singles draw

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