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Kokkinakis Wins Battle of Serves and Returns

Kokkinakis Wins Battle of Serves and Returns
By Janey Pendergrass

Lexington, Ky. — In an out-and-out battle of the serves and returns, wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis defeated Romanian Marius Copil, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 Thursday night at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships.

Copil got one service break, and Kokkinakis got two, and that was the difference in the first set.  While Copil delivered several huge serves throughout the set, that one extra break was enough as Kokkinakis went on to take the first set 6-4. The second serve return points won for Kokkinakis in the first set was 89 percent to Copil’s 33 percent.

Copil and Kokkinakis both continued to deliver monster serves in set two, each holding serve through game nine even though the first serve percentage dropped considerably for both players. Then Copil got the only break of the set at 5-4, and the only one he needed, to take the second set 6-4.   Kokkinakis  stated that he lost focus in the second set and was making some bad choices. While the serves were still a factor, the returns proved to be the deciding statistic as that second serve percentage was now in Copil’s favor, 86 percent to 42 percent.

It was more of the same in the third set until Kokkinakis broke serve and held to go up 4-2. Copil would not relent and held serve with yet another ace.  Up 5-3, Kokkinakis got one more break to take the set 6-3. Two hours and 10 minutes and 24 total aces after it started, wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

When asked about the serving tonight, the 18-year-old Kokkinakis said that he knew Copil had a great service game and he was ready for it, trying to make good returns and his own good serves. He is looking forward to his next match.

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