Day One of The Boodles 2017
Coric and Kokkinakis score wins on Day 1 at The Boodles
The first day of The Boodles 2017 kicked off in style with 20-year-old NextGen star Borna Coric and returning 21-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis sealing wins before the rain hit.
Borna Coric (CRO) d. Ricardas Berankis (LAT) 6-3 6-3
World no. 42 Borna Coric notched up the first victory of The Boodles 2017 with a straight sets defeat of Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis on Tuesday afternoon.
"This is my first match I won here, I lost both of the matches I played last year so I didn't have a very good score, but this year I was playing very good. I was very happy with my tennis, so yeah, it was perfect."
The Croat – who recently beat World No.1 Andy Murray in Madrid continued:
"I'm absolutely feeling good going into Wimbledon. I always feel like I need a couple more matches so I can start playing better, you know, so this is what I needed. And yeah, hopefully I can play good."
Berankis, the World No. 194, was returning to The Boodles after playing at the event last year.
"It's very nice. Good conditions to practice, good hotel, good food, so everything is really good preparation [for Wimbledon]," the Lithuanian said after the match.
"I like grass. My game is quite flat, so the speed and everything is good. Also I'm not the tallest guy, so for me the balls are usually bouncing in a good zone."
"The club is really unbelievably nice, and there's a great gym and good courts. You have full day practicing here, so this makes it really easy for us.
"Everyone's first of all relaxed, everything is really calm here. But at the same time the court is quite big, so it really reminds me of the Wimbledon conditions and everything. That's what we're looking for when preparing for the big tournament."
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d. Gilles Simon (FRA) (66m)
Comeback kid Thanasi Kokkinakis backed up his Queen's Club upset of Milos Raonic last week with a maiden win at Stoke Park, taking down former World No. 6 Gilles Simon in straight sets.
The Aussie, currently ranked 478 as he returns from 18 months of injury, was pleased with his performance – sealing the win just as the rain began to fall.
"I felt really good," he enthused. "Two years ago I came here, loved it. I was a little bit sick last time I played, but I enjoyed the atmosphere. It's a great place to find your feet a little bit before the grass-courts at Wimbledon."
He added: "It's pretty easy-going. A lot of the hard work's done, you've played a lot of serious matches before. You kind of want to feel good, relax a little bit, and still keep your game going, so The Boodles is perfect for that."
As for his Wimbledon goals, the 21-year-old is keeping his feet on the ground, saying:
"Hopefully I get a decent draw. But again, I had a good win last week over Raonic, so I know I can play good tennis. The trouble is maintaining my level. My good is good, my bad isn't so great at the moment. So I'm just trying to get better."
Despite his loss, opponent Gilles Simon remained in good spirits.
"Actually it was a nice match," he said. "Unfortunately missed a tricky shot on break point to lose the first set, but the feeling was okay, and I'm still preparing." Of the tournament, he commented: "I played this event ten years ago and it's just getting better and better every year, so we can really practice long and full during the whole week. We have nice atmosphere and a nice gym, we have everything to work and we can play the match also, so for me it's the best preparation I can have." Despite a four match losing streak prior to the Boodles, Simon said: "I will just try to go as far as I can [at Wimbledon], same as every time. It has been a bit difficult at the beginning of the grass court season with the back problem, so I will go there without any win on grass. That's not ideal. But one more time now I can practice, so I will be ready for the event. "Sometimes you have injury, sometimes you just have a bad run of tournaments. Other guys are playing good also. But you have to go through it. I'm 32, I've been a long time on tour so I know this feeling. And I know you can survive it."
Unfortunately Benoit Paire v Denis Shapovalov and Jan-Lennard Struff v James Ward were cancelled due to rain.
Results - Tuesday 27th June 2017
Borna Coric (CRO) d. Ricardas Berankis (LAT) 63 63
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d. Gilles Simon (FRA) 64 62
Benoit Paire (FRA) v Denis Shapovalov (CAN) - cancelled due to rain.
Jan-Lennard Struff GER) v James Ward (GBR) - cancelled due to rain.
Order of Play Day 2 - Wednesday 28th June 2017 - 12.30pm Start
Denis Shapovalov (CAN) v Ricardas Berankis (LTU)
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) v Gilles Simon (FRA)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
Followed by (not before 17:00)
Benoit Paire (FRA) v Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)