Local favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis’ dream of defending his Adelaide International crown is over, but the South Australian lost no fans after his fighting defeat to world No.26 Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday night.
In the first meeting between the pair, Bautista Agut held his nerve in the face of a furious challenge to win an absorbing semi-final 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-3 at Memorial Drive.
Bautista Agut will face South Korean Soonwoo Kwon in Saturday night’s final, after he overpowered British world No.40 Jack Draper in the other semi.
The hometown hero was brave, but will be left to rue missed opportunities.
After going down a break early in the third set, Kokkinakis created nine break points of his own – five coming in the fifth game and one in the tense last game – but couldn’t win any of them to level up the decider.
It was a top-quality clash of contrasting styles: the big…