Coric defeats local Whittington in opener at KooyongPosted on January 10, 2017
Conditions were hot and still for the first day of the 29th edition of the tournament and the points were rather short between the pair in the first set.
A double fault at the end of the sixth game in the first set from Whittington gave the 20-year-old Coric a break of serve and prompted a word from the coach to the Kooyong scholarship holder.
Coric went on to win the first set and later again took advantage of some wayward hitting by the local youngster in the seventh game of the second set to break his serve.
“It felt very good, it’s a very nice club and it’s very important to play a few games before the Australian Open obviously,” Coric said after his first game at Kooyong.
“Especially for me because I haven’t played for four months.
“It was a solid match, it was nothing special honestly but I was hitting it okay yeah and in the second set a little better I think.
“I’ve been in Dubai practicing for 20 days before this so I’m kind of used to it (the heat).”
“I’ve been struggling the last two years here (at the Australian Open) I think because I came here quite late and I didn’t feel very good – I think it’s extremely important to come here very early.”
Whittington worked his way into the game in the second set with some longer rallies late in the match.
The 23-year-old is currently ranked 190 in the world and is preparing to play at the Australian Open where he earned a wildcard entry.
“Yeah, I was a little bit rusty out there but luckily enough I get another match out there tomorrow and hopefully I can just improve and get ready for the next match,” Whittington said.
“I was just trying to find my rhythm, the first set was a little bit hit and miss.
“It’s great I get two matches here at my home club (before the Australian Open), to come here as a kid and now be playing is great.”
DRAW UPDATE: Karlovic moves into Men’s Championship Group
Frenchman Richard Gasquet has withdrawn from his match today due to an abdominal issue and will be replaced by Jerzy Janowicz.
The former world number 14 from Poland will play against Tommy Haas in the fourth match on day one.