Roland-Garros: Kokkinakis defeats Wawrinka in five set epic to move into third round for first time since 2015

Thanasi Kokkinakis wins epic contest against Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 against a crowd heavily favouring the Swiss former champion

Kokkinakis, Roland-Garros, 2023 Kokkinakis into third round at Roland-Garros 2023 © JB Autissier / Panoramic
French Open 2023 Men's Singles •Second round • completed
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Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis overcame former champion Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in a mammoth encounter to move into the third round of Roland-Garros for the first time in eight years.

The win also marks the first time that the Aussie, such a promising young talent in his junior days, has reached a Grand Slam third round since that same breakthrough at the 2015 French Open.

Kokkinakis reverses Australian Open fortunes in Roland-Garros epic

Kokkinakis, who lost a similar-feeling five-setter at his home slam to Andy Murray in January, started the match slowly, allowing the Swiss powerhouse too much time to set up his potent array of shots.

But the once-heralded future of Australian tennis showed why he still poses such a threat to anyone he plays, as he found his rhythm to make things uncomfortable for Wawrinka across the next two sets.

The Australian matched Wawrinka for power, hitting a huge 53 winners to the Swiss’ 51. But he was also more controlled across the course of the 4 hours and 38 minutes they were on court, besting the 3-time Grand Slam champion for unforced errors, with 54 to Stan’s 69.

This, ultimately was enough to swing such a tight content in Kokkinakis’ favour, as he fell to the floor in relief following the conversion of his fifth match point.

Kokkinakis referenced this match against Andy Murray in his on-court interview, with the spectre of that defeat clearly still hanging over him mentally in the deciding moments of this match.

“I lost a match in a Grand Slam earlier this year against Murray from two sets to love… Having led 40-0, you can imagine the things coming into my mind.”

Kokkinakis, ranked world No. 108, will play the winner of the match between Russian Karen Khachanov, the No 11 seed, and qualifier Radu Albot next.

It will be a huge occasion for the Adelaide native, who will be looking to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.

From the sounds of things, though, he is enjoying his time in Paris this year.

“Back in the third round on clay, who would’ve thought it for an Australian. But my game suits it here. I love it.”

Paris (Grand Slam), other second-round results (Stade Roland-Garros, clay, EUR 49.600.000, most recent results first):

  • Holger Rune vs. Gael Monfils
  • Alexander Zverev vs. Alex Molcan
  • Arthur Rinderknech vs. Taylor Fritz
  • Francisco Cerundolo vs. Yannick Hanfmann
  • Marcos Giron vs. Jiri Lehecka
  • Tommy Paul vs. Nicolas Jarry
  • Genaro Alberto Olivieri vs. Andrea Vavassori
  • Guido Pella vs. Thiago Seyboth Wild
  • Aslan Karatsev vs. Frances Tiafoe
  • Thiago Agustin Tirante vs. Zhizhen Zhang
  • Yoshihito Nishioka vs. Max Purcell
  • Emil Ruusuvuori vs. Grigor Dimitrov
  • Jannik Sinner vs. Daniel Altmaier
  • Giulio Zeppieri vs. Casper Ruud
  • Tomas Martin Etcheverry vs. Alex De Minaur
  • Borna Coric vs. Pedro Cachin
  • Novak Djokovic vs. Marton Fucsovics
  • Lorenzo Musetti vs. Alexander Shevchenko
  • Corentin Moutet vs. Andrey Rublev
  • Luca Van Assche vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina: wednesday
  • Lucas Pouille vs. Cameron Norrie: wednesday
  • Tallon Griekspoor vs. Hubert Hurkacz: wednesday
  • Karen Khachanov vs. Radu Albot: wednesday
  • Carlos Alcaraz vs. Taro Daniel: wednesday
  • Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Juan Pablo Varillas: wednesday
  • Matteo Arnaldi vs. Denis Shapovalov: wednesday
  • Diego Schwartzman beat Nuno Borges: 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-3
  • Lorenzo Sonego beat Ugo Humbert: 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (3)
  • Fabio Fognini beat Jason Kubler: 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-2
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) beat Roberto Carballes Baena: 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2
  • Sebastian Ofner (Q) beat Sebastian Korda (24): 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-4

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