ADELAIDE (REUTERS) – Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis reached his first ATP final in almost five years after battling fourth seed Marin Cilic at the Adelaide International 2 tournament on Friday (Jan 14), while Madison Keys sealed a comeback victory over third seed Coco Gauff.
Local hope Kokkinakis beat Cilic 6-2 3-6 7-6(10) in two hours and 38 minutes, reaching his career-second ATP final since the Los Cabos Open in Mexico in August 2017.
The 25-year-old prevailed against world number 29 Cilic in a lengthy tie-breaker, edging the former US Open champion 12-10 in the decider.
“I was just playing on adrenaline,” Kokkinakis said in his on-court interview before thanking the home crowd for their support.
“You guys got me through honestly.
“I am going to enjoy this tonight, as much as I can, and get my body mentally and physically ready for tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough final.”
In Saturday’s title clash, Kokkinakis will face Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech, who will be playing in his first ATP final after beating compatriot Corentin Moutet 6-1 6-3.
World number 58 Rinderknech, who sent down six aces, won 90 per cent of points on his first serve and broke his opponent four times in a controlled display on Centre Court to win in 76 minutes.
“It’s a great achievement,” the 26-year-old Rinderknech told reporters.
“I’m really happy to be in the final. It’s a new step again. I made the semi-final in Kitzbuhel last summer. Now final here for my first tournament of the year.”
In the women’s event, Keys booked herself a spot in the final by beating Gauff 3-6 6-2 7-5 in a close last set.
Keys will meet Alison Riske in an all-American title clash on Saturday. Riske advanced to the final after Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek withdrew from their semi-final match due to an abdominal injury.
It was the second straight withdrawal or retirement Riske benefited from en route to the final after Madison Brengle retired injured at 3-3 in their quarter-final match.