Sonego Sinks Thiem; Kokkinakis Back From The Brink

Italian Lorenzo Sonego snapped a six-match losing streak at ATP Masters 1000 level Thursday night in Miami when he defeated former World No. 3 Dominic Thiem 7-6(7), 6-2.

After a tight first set, the World No. 59 blew open the match by winning the first four games of the second set as his clean hitting from the baseline and a slew of errors from the former US Open champion proved telling.

“I wanted to be aggressive on the return and I was very aggressive overall today. I’ve wanted to play closer to the baseline this year,” Sonego said. “I like to play in Miami because the conditions are really fast.”

Sonego, who reached the Miami fourth round in 2021, will next meet Briton Daniel Evans.

Thiem, who has not won a match at Masters 1000 level since Rome 2021, littered the stats sheet with 13 winners to 30 unforced errors spread evenly across both wings.

The Austrian has dropped to 1-8 on the season, failing to build on an encouraging return to the tour in 2022 from a serious wrist injury. He went 18-14 last year, but his sole victory this year came against Alex Molcan in the first round of Buenos Aires.

Australian lucky loser Thanasi Kokkinakis saved three match points in a third-set tie-break to hold out Belgian World No. 135 Zizou Bergs after earlier rallying from a set down and 2-4 in the decider.

World No. 94 Kokkinakis, who lost 7-5 in the third to Benoit Paire in the final round of qualifying before getting into the main draw as a lucky loser, advances to play eighth seed and 2021 champion Hubert Hurkacz.

“I’ve been feeling happy on court the past couple of weeks and made a pact with myself to at least compete, no matter how I’m feeling,” said Kokkinakis, who last week defeated Czech Top 50 player Jiri Lehecka in the Phoenix Challenger. “My tennis is fine, it’s just my head. I’m just trying to give myself every chance.

“The crowd got behind me and without them I wouldn’t have pulled through. I’m happy I live to fight another day.”


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