Kokkinakis Upsets Top-Seeded Harris In Second Round At Las Vegas Tennis Open

Thanasi Kokkinakis (photo: Cashman Photo)

LAS VEGAS, October 25, 2018 (by Steve Pratt)

Just like when they met two and a half months ago in the final of the $100,000 Aptos Challenger, Thanasi Kokkinakis once again got the better of top-seeded Lloyd Harris in straight sets, this time in the second round of the Las Vegas Tennis Open taking place at the Fertitta Tennis Complex on the campus of UNLV this week.

Kokkinakis said after the 6-4, 6-3 win he knew Harris had been on a roll winning his second career Challenger and sitting a career-high ATP World Tour ranking of No. 112 in the world. And he was fully aware that Harris just one month ago scored a win over No. 33-ranked player Gael Monfils.

“He’s won a lot and I knew he’d be playing with a lot of confidence,” the unseeded Kokkinakis of Australia said. “Last time I played him it was also two sets. I just tried to stick to my game plan. In the first set he was serving well and was tough to break.”

This is Kokkinakis’ first time in Las Vegas and so far he “loves it.” He’s staying in a friend’s apartment just minutes from the famous Las Vegas Strip. “I haven’t been yet,” he added. “There are a lot of distractions here, but I have to keep my head down and focused.”

Later in the day, Kokkinakis and American J.C. Aragone were scheduled to play Harris and his countryman South African Ruan Roelofse, but a nagging knee injury forced Kokkinakis to withdraw and save his knees for his Friday quarterfinal against Darian King.

King, a 26-year-old Barbados Davis Cup player, beat American qualifier Tommy Paul, 6-4, 6-4

In another Round of 16 singles match, former two-time NCAA champion Blaz Rola (Ohio State) beat qualifier Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (University of Virginia), 6-3, 6-4.

Continuing the college tennis theme, former University of Michigan teammates Jason Jung and Evan King will play second-round matches Thursday for a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals.

On Semifinal Saturday, Oct. 27, the USTA Foundation will hold a Net Generation Tennis Clinic in partnership with the impact barter startuphave|need (haveneed.org). The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and area National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters will receive new tennis racquets as part of the clinic.

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$50,000, RESULTS – OCTOBER 24, 2018

Men’s Singles – Second Round
T. Kokkinakis (AUS) d [1] L. Harris (RSA) 64 63
[Q] M. Bourgue (FRA) d [2] A. Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) 64 06 63
D. King (BAR) d [Q] T. Paul (USA) 64 64
B. Rola (SLO) d [Q] T. Kwiatkowski (USA) 63 64

Men’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
[1] M. Arevalo (ESA) / R. Maytin (VEN) d D. Koepfer (GER) / T. Matsui (JPN) 76(2) 57 10-2
J. Jung (TPE) / M. Krueger (USA) d R. Gonzales (PHI) / N. Lammons (USA) 63 76(4)
First Round
[2] M. Reid (AUS) / J. Smith (AUS) d K. Majchrzak (POL) / N. Serdarusic (CRO) 76(3) 61
L. Harris (RSA) / R. Roelofse (RSA) d [Q] J. Aragone (USA) / T. Kokkinakis (AUS) walkover
D. King (BAR) / N. Rubin (USA) d [WC] C. Alenik (USA) / E. Samuelsson (SWE) 64 62