Day 5 of The Boodles
Kokkinakis and Brown wrap up The Boodles in style
The final day of The Boodles 2017 saw the sun come and and Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis and the charismatic Dustin Brown shine on the stadium court at Stoke Park.
SEBASTIAN KORDA d. NICOLAS MEJIA 10-9 (7-5)
The first-to-nine games clash between two fast-rising junior stars went the distance on Saturday afternoon, as America’s Sebastian Korda – the 16-year-old son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda – edged out good friend Nicolas Mejia, , in a deciding tiebreak.
Both teenagers were making their debut on Stadium Court, and have been relishing the experience of time at Stoke Park.
“It was my first time playing on grass and it was definitely one of the best weeks of my life,”
Korda enthused after his victory.
“Extremely fun week and a lot of hard work, as well. I came Sunday and I’ve been practicing all week with the pros and my dad.”
Mejia – Korda’s occasional doubles partner – shared his sentiments:
“It’s been unreal! I got here Thursday and I’ve really enjoyed it. When Sebi invited me I was really excited, and when I got here it was unbelievable. It’s really nice.”
"That was the biggest stadium I’ve played a match on, and there were a lot of people watching. We were pretty nervous at the beginning but it was fun. It was an amazing atmosphere, and the spectators were really enjoying it."
The duo have really taken to the lawns – which are the same specification as those at the Wimbledon Championships.
17-year-old Mejia added:
“It’s my first time playing on grass but I can already say that it’s my favourite surface, for sure!” shared 17-year-old Mejia. “I play with a lot of slice, so the ball doesn’t come up as much and it makes me feel really comfortable.”
Korda agreed saying:
"“I love grass-courts. I just love the feel of it, love how much it skids and it’s just so much fun to play on.”
This is good news for him as he heads into his maiden junior Wimbledon main draw.
"I’m a little nervous, but it will definitely be a really good experience. Of course I think I can win each tournament I enter, but I just have fun out there and whatever happens, happens. First Grand Slam of the year was a good experience.”
“Playing junior Slams definitely has a special feeling to it. There’s a lot of pressure, but that’s normal at a Grand Slam.”
THANASI KOKKINAKIS (AUS) d. DAMIR DZUMHUR (BIH) 5-7 7-6 (10-8)
Wimbledon wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis made it two wins in three matches at The Boodles 2017 with a lengthy comeback victory, this one clinched over Boznia and Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur in a match tiebreak.
The Aussie commented:
"I feel good. I don't think I was expecting the matches to go as long as they have lasted but it’s been fun! All match practice at this point in my career is good. It was either playing another match or some practice, and I’ve done enough practice. So it was good to get that match feeling and I’m now prepared for Wimbledon."
In what his friend Nick Kyrgios has dubbed the first round match to watch, Kokkinakis is scheduled to take on Juan Martin Del Potro – the 2009 US Open champion – for the first time in his Wimbledon opener.
"I don’t think I saw him at all at The Boodles,” the 21-year-old mused. “I haven’t practiced with him or hit with him at all. But obviously I’ve seen him a little bit. Great player. Had a couple of injuries himself, as well, but it should be a fun match."
"There’s going to be a lot of big hitting, big serving and yeah, I’m just going to give it a crack"
The up-and-comer also referenced the matches he has his eyes on at SW19.
“Richard Gasquet versus David Ferrer is a good one. Hopefully me and Juan Martin have a good one. And a few of the Aussies have some tough seeds… John Millman’s got Rafael Nadal, so that’s going to be a tough match. It should be fun, all of them. It’s never easy at a Slam.”
Dzumhur, 25, was playing his first ever match at Stoke Park, after winning an ATP Challenger title on clay only last week.
The world no.83 said:
"It was just a great feeling playing here in front of all the crowd. It was a lot of fun today, a good match for me and I think I’m ready for Wimbledon 2017."
"The court was really well prepared. Pretty much same as Wimbledon, so I think it was great, and thanks to the people who were preparing it."
Looking ahead to London’s forthcoming Grand Slam, Dzumhur said:
"I think it’s a good draw. I’m not playing a seeded player first round, so it’s an opportunity. I played at Wimbledon before and won, so hopefully I can make it two years in a row."
A winner over Stan Wawrinka only this season, Dzumhur also experienced facing Roger Federer on Wimbledon’s Centre Court back in 2015.
"Just 20 days before I played Federer at Wimbledon we played at Roland Garros and when I saw that I was playing Roger again, I said: ‘Come on, it’s enough now!"
"It was a great feeling playing him on Centre Court at Wimbledon, because he’s a seven-time champion. There are some moments you cannot forget in your life, and for me that was one of them."
DUSTIN BROWN (GER) d. RENZO OLIVO (ARG) 7-5 6-3
Dustin Brown brought his flair back to The Boodles for his first visit since 2010 and once again wowed the crowd with his shot-making. Following a straight sets win against Olivo the German said:
"It's very nice to be back, I got a good practice in this morning and I came out here to try to fine-tune some things. It's very good weather, the atmosphere here is always great.
"I've feeling very good, very confident, especially in Halle. First couple of weeks I was still trying to figure out how to play and in Halle I found a very good mix and played two very good matches against very good players. Today another good match, I'm playing very well, serving well especially and hopefully I can carry that into next week."
On Wimbledon first round opponent Joao Sousa he commented:
"He's a tough guy, he's won tour events already and he's a very good player on all surfaces. In five sets a lot of things can happen so hopefully we have good weather and nice match."
Despite defeat Renzo Olivo was happy with his first visit and said:
"It was very nice to be here, first time for me, it was very nice to play on this surface, we don't get to play on it every day so it's very nice to get used to it and to play against Dustin, he's a very good player so I'm very happy to be here. I was really impressed when I got here, I looked round with my team, it's a very beautiful place."
With thoughts turning to Wimbledon Olivo commented on his first round opponent Damir Dzumhur:
"I'm playing against a tough player, we played each other a few times, we played together in juniors, we're the same age so looking forward to do well and enjoy the tournament it's a really nice surface and I'll enjoy and try to do my best."
In the late afternoon sunshine spectators enjoyed a final doubles match between two British pairs handed Wild Cards into the Wimbledon Men's Doubles draw.
DUSTIN BROWN (GER) d. RENZO OLIVO (ARG) 7-5 6-3