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Thanasi Kokkinakis paid tribute to Adelaide’s boisterous crowd for helping him through a grueling semi-final clash against Marin Cilic, as he booked a spot in his first ATP Tour final since 2017.

Kokkinakis took a 6-2 lead in an exciting tie-break game against the 2018 Australian Open finalist before edging out a 6-2 3-6 7-6 (12-10) winner.

The sensational effort against the world number 29 means Kokkinakis is in his first final since being beaten by Sam Querrey in Los Cabos in August 2017.

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After his thrilling victory, Kokkinakis once again paid tribute to the support of the fan crowd in his hometown.

Thanasi Kokkinakis qualifies for first ATP Tour final since 2019 after victory over Marin Cilic, tennis news

“I played a great first set and knew I couldn’t play better and he was just going to keep his level up,” he told Nine’s Sam Groth after the game.

“He passed me and I just won on the breaker. I played a great breaker until 6-2 and then tightened like nothing else.

“He got match point and I was like I could either go into my shell or die wondering and I just tried playing with a backhand, I got it, I hit it off. big serves I was just playing on the adrenaline [the crowd] got me through, honestly. “

After finishing after midnight, Kokkinakis said his main goal was to get some sleep before his clash against Frenchman Arthur Rinderkneck in Adelaide’s international final on Saturday.

Marin Cilic vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis: ATP Adelaide International

“I’m going to try to sleep, I barely got any last week,” he said. “Some monsters, maybe a red bull and some caffeine and I’ll go.”

“I’m just going to take advantage of this tonight as much as I can and try to prepare my body for tomorrow, it will be a tough final.

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“It’s been almost five years at home, I couldn’t have asked for that anywhere else, honestly. A home final in Adelaide, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Following his clash against Rinderknech, Kokkinakis will face German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the Australian Open first round next week.

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