Felix Auger-Aliassime hits a low forehand during his match with Thanasi Kokkinakis at Wimbledon.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Félix Auger-Aliassime was a point away from his first win at the All England Club since 2021, but instead it was Thanasi Kokkinakis claiming victory in their first-round clash at Wimbledon on Wednesday. 

Played over two days, the Canadian was unable to close out his tenacious opponent despite taking the first two sets and holding four match points in the third set tiebreak, two on his own serve, falling in the first round of Wimbledon for the third straight year 4-6, 5-7, 7-6(9), 6-4, 6-4. 

The match was not about how many points each player won, they actually tied overall with 162 and Auger-Aliassime had more winners, aces, won 80 per cent of his first serve points and a higher break-point conversion, but which points they won. In the last two sets, the Canadian only converted one of five break points, while the Aussie won three of six. 

A sluggish start from Kokkinakis allowed the Canadian to get out to an early lead. In the third game, the Aussie mishit a smash to go down 30-40 and then double-faulted to throw away the early break. 

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Auger-Aliassime was dialed in on serve in the opening set, losing just one point on his first serve and four total points on his own delivery as he took the first. 

Having saved break points for the first time all day in the eighth game of the second set, the Canadian turned on the jets late. From 4-5, 15-all, it was all Auger-Aliassime as he won the last eleven points of the second set in a row to take a two-set lead. 

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Kokkinakis was knocking on the door in the third but Auger-Aliassime seemed to have the answers. The Canadian saved the only two break points of the set in the sixth game and then rallied from 0-5 down in the tiebreak to hold match point at 6-5. 

In total, Auger-Aliassime had four match points in the breaker but missed forehands the two times he served for it and the Aussie erased the other two with big serves of his own. On his first set point, Kokkinakis drew an error to extend the match. 

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After exchanging breaks to start the fourth set, the match was postponed as night fell. 

Upon the restart, Auger-Aliassime had the first look at a break in Kokkinakis’ first service game but netted his return. The Canadian immediately then gifted the lead to his opponent in the followed game with a double fault. 

With Auger-Aliassime serving at 3-5, AD-40, the rain sent the players back to the locker room once again. This delay was much shorter and once they returned, Kokkinakis served the match into a deciding set.  

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The fifth looked similar to the fourth, with Auger-Aliassime getting an early break point only to net a return. When Kokkinakis had a look at 3-3, he took full advantage, blasting back-to-back winners from deuce to claim what would be the only break in the final set. 

Denis Shapovalov is the lone Canadian man left in the draw. His second-round match against Daniel Altmeier was pushed back to Thursday.