Photo: Veljko Martinović

 

With one victory in three matches, Duje Ajduković said goodbye to this year's Split Open after losing to Thanasije Kokkinakis.

 

After being eliminated in the second round at Firule last week, this time Ajduković was stopped right at the start. Better than him with 6:4, 5:7, 6:3 was the better Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis who fought better with the strong wind.

 

The tennis player from Split made up for the "break" of the gap in the second set (2: 1) and took the match to the decisive section in which he made too many unforced errors. He practically gave Kokkinakis a double "break" 4:1. Despite the big lag, Duje did not give up and returned one lost serve, then at 3:5 on his opening shot, he saved three match-points, but not the fourth.

 

Here is what our representative said after the match:

- I played OK. I stupidly lost the service after the "break" in the first set, and he served very well whenever it mattered. The pressure on my service was huge. The wind was blowing in all directions, it was similar to last year in the semifinals. It was not pleasant to play. In the third set, I made mistakes, the wind picked up, and Kokkinakis played smarter.

 

The 20-year-old from Split was expecting more from Challengers in Split, but considering that he recently got over Covid-19, he is just on the way back to his old form.

- It wasn't what I expected, but I'm moving on. These two weeks will still help me catch the rhythm and fitness. It is getting better - Duje Ajduković concluded optimistically.