Tuesday 22 August 2017 / 09:31 AM

WATERSHED WINS FOR AUSSIE YOUNGSTERS ON EVE OF WIMBLEDON

Australia’s Jordan Thompson and Thanasi Kokkinakis have pulled off stunning upsets at the Queen’s Club Championships overnight.

With less than a fortnight to go until Wimbledon, Thompson and Kokkinakis defeated last year’s Wimbledon finalists at the annual grass court lead-up event.

Thompson played the match of his life to upset World No.1 and reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-2, sealing the memorable victory with an ace.

The 23-year-old Australian was a lucky loser at the tournament and was not even supposed to be playing in the main draw after losing his second qualifying match to Jeremy Chardy, making the win even more remarkable.

But Thompson seized the opportunity to compete when Aljaz Bedene was forced to withdraw from main draw action because of a wrist injury.

He fired down 12 aces in total and won 82 percent of his first service points to upstage Murray – in their first career meeting – on centre court.

“I played really well. Served great. Got a lot of free points. Gave myself every opportunity in the rallies and didn’t make too many errors. It was a good day at the office,” Thompson said in his post-match media conference, adding that it was the best win of his career.

Meanwhile, fellow Aussie young gun Kokkinakis also enjoyed a memorable win of his own, ousting 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic in a thriller 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8). It was just his second win of the season.

The 21-year-old recently admitted he had considered giving up tennis, after suffering through injuries for the past two years. A shoulder injury had sidelined him for a substantial part of this season, resulting in his ranking plummeting to 698th in the world.

“It’s huge. Best win of my career,” Kokkinakis said.

“And to do it so soon after coming back from such a long layoff is a huge confidence booster for me. But every match is so different. Practice courts are so different to playing matches.

“I have been practising pretty good, and then came out on the court (today) and I’m nervous as anything. My first few forehands hit the back fence. I’m like, ‘Jeez, this is bad again.’ Luckily my serve helped me in it and I won the big points when it mattered, so it’s huge.”

Kokkinakis is now scheduled to face World No.60 Daniil Medvedev in second-round action and he could be on his way to a quarterfinal meeting with Grigor Dimitrov.

At the top of the draw, Thompson’s next challenge is big serving American Sam Querrey, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lingers as a possible quarterfinal match up.

In further good news for tennis fans Down Under, Bernard Tomic has Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4 to set up a second-round meeting with Richard Gasquet at the Gerry Weber Open in Germany.

In women’s action, Daria Gavrilova and Ashleigh Barty have continued the Aussie winning trend, as they each won their respective first round matches in Birmingham.

Ninth seed Daria Gavrilova defeated Su-Wei Hsieh 6-4, 6-4, while Barty edged qualifier Marketa Vondrousova 7-5, 7-6 (1).

The Round of 16 matches continue today, ahead of the Wimbledon Championships, which begin on July 3.

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Alyssia Varricchio

Alyssia Varricchio is a sports reporter, journalist and producer based in Melbourne.

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