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Tuesday June 15th, 2021 5:12AM

The Latest: Tsitsipas fends off Kokkinakis in 2nd round

By The Associated Press
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest from the Australian Open on Thursday (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas has been pushed all the way in a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-4 win over No. 267-ranked Australian wild-card entry Thanasi Kokkinakis in a second-round match that delayed the night program on Rod Laver Arena.

Tsitsipas has a big following within Melbourne’s large Greek community but he he was playing an Aussie for the first time at the Australian Open and had to contend with having a share support in the crowd.

Tsitsipas will next play Mikael Ymer, who beat 17-year-old Spanish qualifier Carlos Acaraz in the second round.

Kokkinakis didn't play at all in 2020 because of illness and injuries and this is his first major tournament since the 2019 U.S. Open. His first-round win over over Kwon soon-woo was his first in the Australian Open main draw since 2015.

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6:10 p.m.

Mackenzie McDonald, who won NCAA tennis titles at UCLA, eliminated No. 22-seeded Borna Coric 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the Australian Open’s third round for the first time.

McDonald is ranked 192nd after missing more than six months because of hamstring surgery and is the lowest-ranked player Coric has lost to in a tour-level match.

McDonald, a 25-year-old American, now will try to equal his best Grand Slam result by getting to the fourth round, which he did at Wimbledon three years ago.

He won college championships in singles and doubles in 2016.

Coric was a quarterfinalist at last year’s U.S. Open. He had a trainer massage his right shoulder and upper back after the second set.

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3:30 p.m.

Defending champion Sofia Kenin is out of the Australian Open in the second round after a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Kaia Kanepi.

After her first-round win, Kenin talked about how nervous she was as the defending champion at a major for the first time.

Against Kanepi, she looked it. She was near tears during a changeover toward the end of the match.

The 65th-ranked Kanepi was hardly an underdog: she had beaten Kenin in their only previous match and is a six-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist. The Australian Open is the only Slam where Kanepi has not reached the quarterfinals.

The fourth-seeded Kenin only had 10 winners in the match, while committing 22 unforced errors.

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2:30 p.m.

Top-seeded Ash Barty dropped a few more points in her second-round match at the Australian Open than her first — but the result was still the same.

Barty followed up her 6-0, 6-0 drubbing of Danka Kovinic in the first round with a much tighter 6-1, 7-6 (7) win over fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova.

After dropping just 10 points against Kovinic, Barty was far less consistent against Gavrilova, racking up 34 unforced errors.

Barty’s serve was a particular problem: she was broken four times, including when serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set.

“When you play another Aussie, the rankings go out the window, experience goes out the window,” she said. “It’s always going to be a tricky match no matter what.”

The 2019 French Open champion had her upper left thigh heavily taped during the match, though she played it down after the match with a laugh. “This isn’t very subtle, is it? I can’t really hide it,” Barty said, adding it was not a big issue. “I’m fit as a fiddle, I’m ready to go.”

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12:45 p.m.

Former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova advances to the third round at the Australian Open by beating American Danielle Collins, a semifinalist at Melbourne Park in 2019, 7-5, 6-2.

Pliskova, seeded sixth, lost serve twice in a seesaw first set but pulled it out and then pulled away. She finished with seven aces.

Pliskova has won 65 matches in Grand Slams but is still seeking her first major title. She was runner-up to Angelique Kerber at the 2016 U.S. Open.

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12:25 p.m.

American Shelby Rogers advances to the third round at the Australian Open for the first time by beating qualifier Olga Danilovic 6-2, 6-3.

Rogers hit seven aces and lost only three points on her first serve.

She came into the tournament with a career record of 1-4 in Melbourne, but at age 28 her fortunes have been on the rise. She reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open for the first time last September, and her year-end ranking was a career-best No. 58.

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11:00 a.m.

Day 4 at Melbourne Park features the No. 1 women’s player in the world and the 2020 singles champion in temperatures which are expected to be the hottest of the first week.

Top-ranked Ash Barty plays fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova and fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin plays Kaia Kanepi in afternoon matches as the second round of singles play concludes. Kenin won her first Grand Slam singles title last year with a three-set victory over Garbiñe Muguruza at Melbourne Park.

The weather forecast is for mostly sunny skies and a high temperature of 33 degrees Celsius, or 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

American 16-year-old Coco Gauff takes on fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, a two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist, in the opening night match at Rod Laver Arena.

Another American, Michael Mmoh, will have an even tougher task, playing No. 2 Rafael Nadal. The Spanish lefthander is looking to win a men's-record 21st Grand Slam singles title.

___

More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Sports - Men's Tennis, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
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