Thanasi Kokkinakis admits he’s in a bizarre place as he contemplates opening his Australian Open marketing campaign in opposition to Italian veteran Fabio Fognini whereas his stirring Adelaide Worldwide title defence rolls on.
Kokkinakis learnt that he’ll start his residence grand slam in opposition to the world No.57 simply hours earlier than he produced one other crowd-pleasing effort to dispatch Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in three units at Memorial Drive on Thursday evening.
The spectacular win, which included 59 winners, arrange a semi-final assembly with world No.26 Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday evening.
However Kokkinakis additionally is aware of the impression of his Adelaide Worldwide final 12 months hit him laborious in a first-round loss at Melbourne Park.
“It‘s bizarre, mentally, realizing you will have one other participant you’re occupied with subsequent week, however you’re already in a match this week and also you’ve acquired to fret about Bautista Agut,” Kokkinakis mentioned after his three-set win in opposition to Kecmanovic.
“It’s not simple. I’ve simply acquired to concentrate on this week and I’ll fear about Fognini subsequent. However he’s a hell of a participant and has been on the prime of the sport as properly.
“I’ve performed him a pair instances on tour and have report in opposition to him, however I do know what his prime stage is able to.
“He‘s a vet, his ball placing is excellent, particularly when he’s locked in, so it’s not going to be simple.”
Kokkinakis has performed the 35-year-old Italian twice on tour, upsetting him when he was a 19-year-old on the Cincinnati Masters in 2015 and prevailing in straight units on clay in Switzerland final 12 months.
The hometown hero, ranked No.110 on this planet, has defeated countryman Alexei Popyrin (ranked 113), Andrey Rublev (6) and Kecmanovic (28) to advance to the semi-final stage.
After holding aloft his maiden ATP Tour title trophy in Adelaide final 12 months, Kokkinakis went on to lose his first-round match on the Australian Open to German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann.
However the proud South Australian, whereas “praying” for a Tuesday begin as a substitute of Monday, is assured issues are totally different this time round.
“That is the most effective I’ve felt ball striking-wise,” he mentioned.
“Even once I exit for follow, I’m simply feeling like I can sort of do what I need, and I haven’t had that feeling shortly.”