Miami Flashback: Thanasi Kokkinakis stuns Roger Federer and writes history


World no. 175 Thanasi Kokkinakis scored the most notable victory of his young career in Miami 2018, ousting the defending champion Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 in two hours and 21 minutes. Thus, the Aussie became the lowest-ranked player with a victory over world no. 1 since Francisco Clavet defeated Lleyton Hewitt in Miami 2003! Kokkinakis qualified for the main draw and played on a high level against the Swiss star. He fended off every break point after losing the opening set and kept the pressure on the other side. Roger did not play badly either, dropping serve once and falling in the deciding tie break to suffer an early defeat and pass the ATP throne to Rafael Nadal.

Federer won two points more than Kokkinakis, firing 35 winners and over 70 mistakes, which plagued his chances. The more experienced player built a solid advantage in the more extended rallies. Still, Thanasi erased that deficit with a marvelous performance in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes to bring the victory home. The first set was decided in the fourth game when Roger got a break after Thanasi’s poor forehand. The Swiss sailed through his service games and completed it with an ace at 5-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis stunned world no. 1 Roger Federer in the 2018 Miami second round.

Kokkinakis did not lose his spirit, firing from his forehand and staying in touch with Federer in set number two. He grabbed a break at love in game four to move 3-1 ahead and could score another in game six, with two more break chances up for grabs. Roger saved them with two winners, but that was all he could do, as Thanasi claimed the set with a hold at love at 5-3 to force a deciding set. We must give the youngster full credit after taking only seven points on the return in the final set. He did enough to tame his shots in the tie break and emerge as a winner.

The Aussie saved two break points in game six and served well to send the encounter into a tie break, the most important one of his career up to that point. They traded early mini-breaks, and Kokkinakis grabbed another at 4-3 after forcing Federer’s error, earning a match point with a forehand winner at 5-4. A service winner sent Kokkinakis over the finish line, celebrating a massive victory and advancing into the third round for his most significant result at the Masters 1000 level.

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