Thanasi Kokkinakis has been left to rue what could’ve been after blowing nine break point opportunities in the final set of his loss to Roberto Bautista Agut.
As he has done all summer, the Aussie played some fantastic tennis, taking it right up to the Spanish No.4 seed who eventually ran out a 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3 winner in Adelaide.
After being outduelled in a first-set tiebreaker, Kokkinakis turned the tables late in the second set, breaking the Spaniard for the first time in the match to send it into a deciding third set.
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The 26-year-old came out of the gates full of momentum in the decider, immediately putting the pressure on his veteran opponent, but that’s where his title defence eventually crumbled.
Kokkinakis squandered three break point opportunities in Bautista Agut’s opening service game of the final set, and then immediately gave up a break in the very next game in what was described as a “gut punch” by commentator Mark Petchey on Nine’s coverage.
However, there was worse to come.
With Bautista Agut holding a 3-1 lead in the final set, Kokkinakis threw the absolute kitchen sink at the Spaniard, bringing up five more break point opportunities.
Once again, the Spaniard was able to hold his serve, playing some incredible tennis to maintain his valuable lead.
Match Highlights: Thanasi Kokkinakis v Roberto Bautista Agut
“We may not see better tennis than this the whole summer. It’s of a super high standard,” said Aussie great John Fitzgerald on commentary.
Kokkinakis had one last opportunity to save the match in the final game, bringing up one more break point as Bautista Agut looked to seal the deal.
Again, the Spaniard was able to break free, incredibly ending the match having saved 11 of 12 break points on his own serve while converting the one break point chance he had on the Kokkinakis serve.
Bautista Agut will face face Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo in Saturday’s final, aiming to win the 12th singles title of his career, while Kokkinakis will begin preparations for his first-round opponent Fabio Fognini at the Australian Open.
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