Borna Coric defeats Thanasi Kokkinakis for first win in Tokyo | ATP Tour

The third time was the spell for Borna Korik in Tokyo. In one of the marquee matchups in the opening round, the ninth defeated Seed Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Monday to earn his first win at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.

The Croatian would have happily avoided one of Japan’s record-breaking nine ATP players in his first-round draw – Coric lost to the home favourite Kei Nishikori (2015) and Taro Daniel (2019) in his two previous performances in Tokyo, both in three movements.

“I was hoping not to play a Japanese player this time,” he said with a smile after the game. But Australia’s Kokkinakis presented a tough opponent in a two-hour game that featured only a single break of serve.

“To be honest, I’m feeling a bit tired,” Coric added. “It was a very tough match, it was very hot out there. I was sweating a lot. I think we also had a 30-ball rally towards the end. It was just very close, also stressful, so I’m just happy. ” be through.”

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Six weeks after winning the biggest title of his career in Cincinnati, Coric confidently went into his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Kokkinakis, breaking in game three of the match. He salvaged a break point serving the opening set but failed to convert his only break chance in the second set, which came in a game of five twos – the longest of the game.

He will face next Brandon Nakashima, who recently won his first ATP Tour title in his hometown of San Diego. The American defeated the Japanese wild card Shintaro Mochizuki 6-3, 6-2 on Monday.

After missing action for 12 months from March 2021 to March 2022 following surgery on his right shoulder, Coric has overloaded his comeback in Cincinnati but still has to endure occasional soreness.

“I feel good. I can play tennis and exercise a lot more than before the surgery,” he said. “Even so, sometimes I have a bit of pain and I have to deal with it. But I can play. A bit of pain, sometimes I think that’s okay.

“I’m not very young anymore, so I have to be willing to be in pain at times. If that’s what it takes, I’m fine.”

Kokkinakis made his debut in the Tokyo main draw after losing in 2014 qualifying.

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In the opening game on Tuesday at the Ariake Colosseum Soonwoo Kwon put down a dominant performance in a 6-3, 6-2 sixth seed excitement Alex from Minaur. The South Korean didn’t have a break point and converted four of his 12 break chances to secure an efficient win in 76 minutes.

From 2-3 in the opening set, Kwon has won 10 of the last 12 games to advance to the second round where he will score Mackenzie McDonald. The American defeated the Japanese wild card Kaichi Uchida 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-3 in the first game of the day at Rakuten Mobile Arena.

Kwon won his first ATP Tour title in Astana just over a year ago, but is aiming for his first trip to the third round on the ATP Tour this season. The world number 120 has reached the second round in 15 tour-level events this year.

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