Thanasi Kokkinakis in heated exchange before Miami Masters exit

By @saihoops on
Thanasi Kokkinakis, Miami Masters
Mar 26, 2018; Key Biscayne, FL, USA; Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia hits a forehand against Fernando Verdasco of Spain (not pictured) on day seven of the Miami Open at Tennis Center at Crandon Park. USA TODAY Sports / Geoff Burke

Rising Australian tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis had a heated exchange with Spanish Fernando Verdasco in their third-round match at the Miami Open Masters on Monday (Tuesday AEDT). Verdasco prevailed with a 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory but not before battling in a war of words with the young Aussie.

Kokkinakis grabbed headlines this past week when he stunned World No. 1 Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in their first-round match at Key Biscayne, Florida. With Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov also suffering early exits, several analysts believed Kokkinakis had a legitimate shot at winning the Miami Masters.

According to the Australian Associated Press, Verdasco insulted Kokkinakis' father at the change of ends in the third set. Nick Kyrgios, Australia's No. 1 male tennis player, weighed on Twitter to support his fellow countryman.

"I hope TK wins this match, Verdasco is the saltiest dude, must be frustrated at his past success against Aussies," tweeted Kyrgios, who has a history of on-court meltdowns and controversies.

Kyrgios deleted the tweet after Kokkinakis lost in the three-hour battle. After Verdasco addressed Kyrgios: "@NickKyrgios when you have the courage to put a tweet insulting another player you need to have the same to don't delete it," the temperamental Australian responded to the Spaniard.

"I honestly would have told it to Fernando's face, the reason I deleted my previous tweet was because I didn't want to cause unwanted attention, but I'm just gonna leave this here. Thanks for blocking me, I'm sure that took a lot of courage x," replied Kyrgios.

Meanwhile, Nick Kyrgios, the 17th seed at the Miami Open, sailed into the fourth-round with a comfortable 6-3 6-3 over 15th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini. Kyrgios will now face the fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev Jr in tomorrow's Round of 16 match. Marin Cilic is the highest-ranked player still left in the 2018 Miami Open.