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Kokkinakis, Rune headline men’s qualifiers at Indian Wells while Sousa gets poetic justice

Adelaide champion Kokkinakis meets American Korda in the first round while Taro Daniel qualified and gets Andy Murray once again

Thanasi Kokkinakis at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Thanasi Kokkinakis at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

ATP Indian Wells Masters 1000 | Results | Schedule

25-year-old Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis and Danish teenager Holger Rune were among the 12 players who booked their spots in the men’s singles main draw of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after winning their final round qualifying matches on Wednesday.

Kokkinakis, who started the season in incredible form by reaching the semi-finals at the Adelaide 1 event and winning his first career singles title at the Adelaide 2 event before teaming up with countryman Nick Kyrgios to win the Australian Open men’s doubles title, defeated Canadian veteran Vasek Pospisil 7-6, 7-5.

Now ranked 97th in the world, Kokkinakis will meet young American Sebastian Korda in the first round, with the winner getting Rafael Nadal in the second round.

18-year-old Rune, already ranked 86th in the world, defeated American Stefan Kozlov 6-4, 6-2 to book his spot in the main draw where he will meet Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the first round, with a possible second round clash with sixth seed Matteo Berrettini looking ahead.

38-year-old German Phillip Kohlschreiber also qualified for the main draw as did Japan’s Taro Daniel, who will meet Andy Murray for the third time this season. Daniel defeated Murray in straight sets in their first round of the Australian Open before the Brit avenged that loss in Doha to improve to 2-1 lifetime against the Japanese player.

Below are the first round matches of the qualifiers at Indian Wells:

  • [Q] Machac vs Popyrin, next : Medvedev (1)
  • [Q] Wolf vs Gaston , next : Bautista Agut (15)
  • [LL] Sousa vs Martínez, next : Norrie (12)
  • [Q] Kokkinakis vs Korda , next : Nadal (4)
  • [Q] Eubanks vs Cressy, next : Ruud (8)
  • [Q] Rune vs Humbert, next : Berrettini (6)
  • [Q] Broady vs Kecmanovic, next : Cilic (24)
  • [Q] Sandgren vs Van de Zandschulp, next : Auger-Aliassime (9)
  • [Q] Munar vs [Q] Shang, next : Carreño Busta (16)
  • {Q] Kukushkin vs Paul, next : Zverev (3)
  • [Q] Kohlschreiber vs Ruusuvuori, next : Schwartzman (14)
  • [Q] Daniel vs Murray, next : Bublik (31)

Luck turns around for Joao Sousa in Tennis Paradise

Joao Sousa has been in the spotlight at Indian Wells over the past few days with the 32-year-old being the highest ranked player in the qualifying field. As the participation of world No 2 Novak Djokovic remained uncertain, Sousa was hoping to get into the main draw if there was any withdrawal before the qualifying event got underway.

But Djokovic only pulled out on Wednesday after Sousa had saved two match points to beat Max Purcell in a deciding set tiebreak in the first round. The 2022 Tata Open Pune champion was then defeated in the second round by American Chris Eubanks. But as luck would have it, Sousa got the lucky loser spot following Djokovic’s withdrawal and will now meet Spain’s Pedro Martinez in the first round.

Another notable player to come through the qualifying was 17-year-old Chinese player Juncheng Shang. The former junior world No 1 who is now ranked 3rd on the ITF junior rankings, punched well above his weight to beat world No 100 Francisco Cerundolo in the first round of qualifying and then advanced to the main draw when Mats Moraing retired after losing the first set of their match.

Shang’s reward is a first-round meeting with fellow qualifier Jaume Munar. The four-time winner on the ITF circuit will also break into the top 500 in the world rankings after Indian Wells and could go further based on his results this week.

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