Thanasi Kokkinakis scored one of the biggest Grand Slam victories of his career, upsetting 20th seed Dan Evans as he advanced to the second round at Roland Garros.
Thanasi Kokkinakis advanced to the second round of Roland Garros for the first time in eight years after an impressive upset from Dan Evans.
Kokkinakis beat the No. 20 seed 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to claim the second-highest Grand Slam victory of his career, as ranked by opponents.
The biggest came when he stunned world No. 13 Ernests Gulbis in the first round of the 2015 Australian Open when he was an 18-year-old wildcard.
The 2015 season was also Kokkinakis’ last win in a main draw match in Paris.
His previous win was against fellow Australian Bernard Tomic, the match Kokkinakis won 8-6 in the fifth set to advance to the third round.
This is his best result in a Grand Slam tournament, something he will have a chance to match next time he faces Stan Wawrinka or Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
down #Roland Garros second round for the first time since 2015 👏
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 28, 2023
And that’s shaping up to be a winnable match considering neither Wawrinka nor Ramos-Vinolas are in the top 60.
Kokkinakis looked especially good in warm, lively conditions on Sunday in Paris, finishing with 10 aces among 46 winners and just 26 unforced errors.
He served imperiously and enjoyed consistent success with his forehand, which often beat Evans with its speed and heaviness.
Kokkinakis threatened a breakout in the long fifth game, but despite missing that opportunity, he did so in game seven and won the opening set behind 17 winners.
Losing 4-1 in the second, Kokknakis played five games in a row with an increasingly jittery Evans, who was nervous after being called out for a foot fault on his second serve.
In Game 5 of the third set, Kokkinakis hit another forehand winner – leading 21-8 in that stat category so far – en route to another break.
He consolidated this by taking a 4–2 lead, and despite a slight swing causing him to lose a serve in game eight due to a double fault, he rebounded straight away with another forehand winner.
He kept his composure when serving for the match and after two and a half hours he got the job done.
It’s his first win over Evans since 2015.
The win continues a solid clay court season for the Australian, who has already won seven matches on the surface. Earlier this month, he qualified for the Rome Masters and advanced to the second round.
And that was part of an overall recovery season for the 27-year-old.
Kokkinakis dropped to 159th in mid-January, but briefly returned to the top 100 and is currently ranked 108th.
In 2023, he won 24 of his 36 matches.
Australians in action – Roland Garros
Men’s singles, first round
(WC) Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d (20) Dan Evans (UK) 6-4 6-4 6-4
Jason Kubler (AUS) d (LL) Facundo Diaz Acosta (ARG) 1-6 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-1
Women’s singles, first round
(Q) Stormhunter (AUS) d Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 4-6 6-2 6-4
(CM) Leolia Jeanjean (FRA) b (WC) Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3
Men’s singles, first round
(18) Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Ilya Ivashka
Max Purcell (Australia) In Jordan Thompson (AUS)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v (Q) Aslan Karatsev
Chris O’Connell (AUS) vs. Taro Daniel (JPN)
Men’s singles, second round
(WC) Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v To be confirmed
Jason Kubler (AUS) v To be confirmed
Women’s singles, second round
(Q) Stormhunter (AUS) v To be confirmed
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