Crowd favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis was unable to repeat his 2023 Adelaide International heroics as the defending champion was knocked out of his home tournament by Dusan Lajovic in the first round on Monday night.
The Australian star’s only ATP Tour singles title came in Adelaide last year and the 27-year-old looked set to make another run as he breezed through the opening set 6-3.
But Serbia’s Lajovic then took his game to another level, winning the next two sets 6-1, 6-4 to advance in 2h 11m.
Lajovic is ranked 52nd in the world and Kokkinakis is 68th.
“Sorry you guys, I know Thanasi is a crowd favorite here,” Lajovic said on Stan Sport’s coverage.
“And at least I hope you guys enjoyed some great tennis tonight. I for sure did.
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“Thank you for supporting both sides and I hope to see you soon again.”
Kokkinakis made 26 unforced errors compared to Lajovic’s 20.
“Once Thanasi gets into the rhythm with his serve, he’s a really dangerous player,” Lajovic said.
“I think I started to relax a little bit in the second set once I started reading his game a little better and and you could see that he was not happy about that.
“And I think that this gave me the momentum to continue playing with confidence in the third set as well.”