French Open 2024: Thanasi Kokkinakis roars back to win another late-night five-setter at Roland Garros

Estimated read time 3 min read

Thanasi Kokkinakis has pulled off a second late-night five-set comeback triumph in three days at the French Open to ensure Alex de Minaur will not be the only Australian standing in the third round of the French Open.

After de Minaur had delivered a consummate 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 win over Jaume Munar on Thursday to make the last 32 at Roland Garros for the first time, it was Kokkinakis who again stole the show by coming back from two sets down to beat Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

After he had roared back from two sets to one down to beat Alexei Popyrin in an all-Australian five-set classic which finished at 11.37pm local time on Tuesday, Kokkinakis this time wore down Zeppieri to earn his triumph in front of boisterous fans on Court 10 under lights again at 11.35pm.

The three-hour 45 minute grind, interrupted by a rain break for an hour, was the third time Kokkinakis has made the third round at Roland Garros, and his fourth successive victory in a five set-match after the heartbreak of his epic 4.05am loss to Andy Murray in Melbourne last year.

It was an astonishing effort after Zeppieri served for the match in the fourth set at 5-3 only for the 28-year-old Australian to simply refuse to bend. He even outlasted the Italian physically, as Zeppieri began to cramp and wilt badly in the last set and needed to call the trainer for a left leg issue.

Earlier, De Minaur had made light of more Paris rain trying to dampen his title assault, powering past old Spanish clay-court pal Munar to reach the last-32 for the first time in eight attempts.

The Australian No 1 was a set up and dominating on Thursday when he was halted in full flow by another of the countless rain interruptions which have inevitably led to the event being nicknamed the ‘Drench Open’.

Alex de Minaur returns to Jaume Munar during his second-round match.View image in fullscreen

But he didn’t let the hour’s break affect him as he quickly resumed where he left off, eclipsing the hardened clay-courter with an assured, attacking display that made Munar distinctly irritable.

But while Munar argued with the umpire and got the supervisor called to court to adjudicate over a complaint, De Minaur just got his head down, wouldn’t be distracted and went on to carve out his impressive two hours 11 minute win.

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Promising that he couldn’t get too serious about his French Open ambitions until he had finally got past a second round, no wonder de Minaur was left beaming. He has made the last-32 in coruscating style, for the loss of just 13 games in two matches following his first-round destruction of American teenager Alex Michelsen.

“It feels great. Ultimately, it’s something that I’ve always thought that I was going to be able to achieve in my career,” said De Minaur of his uncharted territory.

“I thought there’s no reason why I can’t do it. So it’s just good to finally be able to be in the third round and keep on going, because ultimately, my goal is not to make the third round, it’s to go for bigger and better things. And I’m just keeping myself alive and ready for the next round.”


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