#NextGenATP Kokkinakis Stuns Berdych For Maiden Final
#NextGenATP Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis continued his remarkable run this week by reaching his first ATP World Tour singles final on Friday at Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex, rallying to defeat top seed Tomas Berdych in Los Cabos 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
"I showed some glimpses of good tennis this year, so to do that consistently this week in Los Cabos means a lot," said Kokkinakis. "I've had great support from the fans here all week. I love it here and I'll definitely be coming back a few more times."
The 21 year old was sidelined from singles competition for 18 months with a laundry list of injuries, but returned to singles action this past May. In just his fourth tournament back, he defeated Milos Raonic at the Aegon Championships. Kokkinakis is currently No. 454 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after six tournaments, but will move to around No. 225 when the newest standings are released on Monday. A win in the final will put him around No. 165.
Berdych grabbed the lone break of the opening set at 4-3, but Kokkinakis regrouped in the second set by storming to a 6/2 lead in the tie-break before eventually forcing a decider. The Aussie led by 5-2 in the final set, but nerves began to take over trying to close out the match. He dropped his serve and squandered four match points, but ultimately regrouped to prevail in two hours and 18 minutes.
Kokkinakis celebrated the milestone moment by holding an impromptu autograph session to thank the fans in Los Cabos for their support all week.
Standing between Kokkinakis and the title is second seed Sam Querrey, who defeated Damir Dzumhur 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a match that ended well after midnight. Querrey is enjoying an outstanding run of form that recently saw him defeat World No. 1 Andy Murray to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals. The American has already enjoyed success in Mexico this year by defeating Rafael Nadal this past March in the Acapulco final.
"I'm going to move here," joked Querrey. "I really love this tournament and hope I can win both tournaments in Mexico this year."
Querrey won his lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with Kokkinakis at the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open, but said the rising Aussie is a different player compared to the one he faced two years ago.
"He's obviously playing much better now. He's hitting his forehand big and played really well against Berdych," said Querrey. "He's playing loose and tournaments don't get any easier from here, so it's going to be a tough match."
Cabal/Huey Move Into Doubles Final
Second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Treat Huey outlasted fourth seeds Purav Raja and Divij Sharan 3-6, 6-4, 10-7 to move into Saturday’s final. Cabal/Huey will take on Sergio Galdos and Roberto Maytin, who upset third seeds Marc Lopez and David Marrero 6-3, 2-6, 11-9.