Kovacevic outlasts Kokkinakis at U.S. Clay Court

Tennis

HOUSTON — American Aleksandar Kovacevic outlasted Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis on Tuesday night to reach the second round of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, winning 7-6 (3), 6-7 (2), 6-4 in a match that lasted 3 hours, 16 minutes.

“Go for it. That’s the only thing you can really tell yourself, is be brave and in those big moments kind of just let it ride,” Kovacevic said. “You don’t want to have regrets afterwards that you didn’t go for your shots and let the other guy win.”

Kovacevic, who entered Tuesday having played just two tour-level clay matches, won 80% of his first-serve points and hit 14 aces.

“I was just trying to get a good performance for my first tournament on clay for this season,” Kovacevic said. “So that’s what I did and whether I won or lost, I was still happy with my performance today.”

He moves on to face either No. 6 seed Jordan Thompson or China’s Wu Yibing.

In other action Tuesday, Gijs Brouwer, who was born in Houston and reached the semifinals of this event last year, was ousted in the first round by James Duckworth. The Australian defeated Brouwer 6-3, 6-3.

Max Purcell, the No. 8 seed, beat Alex Michelsen 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-4. Luciano Darderi got past American Denis Kudla 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2.

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