Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov sends Aussie favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis packing

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov seals a second-round win against Thanasi Kokkinakis on Thursday night.

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov seals a second-round win against Thanasi Kokkinakis on Thursday night. Photo: Getty

Crowd favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis was unable to reproduce his Australian Open first-round heroics, outclassed by in-form Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

A packed house at John Cain Arena on Thursday night was unable to lift Kokkinakis to an upset win over the world No.13, who triumphed 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4.

After his gruelling five-set thriller against Austrian Sebastian Ofner in the opening round, Kokkinakis looked flat early against a rampant Dimitrov.

The 32-year-old broke the Australian early in the first two sets to set up the victory and played some flawless tennis that didn’t allow the world No.80 many chances to find his way back into the match.

The gutsy Kokkinakis stayed with Dimitrov in the third set. Up 5-4 on serve, he had two break points against him at 15-40, before he clinched the set when Dimitrov netted backhand.

The 27-year-old South Australian kept going toe to toe with Dimitrov in the fourth set until losing his serve to trail 4-5, allowing the veteran to serve out the match to love.

Their unforced error count was almost the same, but former world No.3 Dimitrov came up with the big plays when it mattered most.

Dimitrov, whose best result at Melbourne Park was a semi-final showing in 2017, finished with 68 winners to 40 from Kokkinakis, while he was particularly dangerous at the net.

He will next face Portugal’s Nuno Borges, who saw off Spanish 23rd seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

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