Roland Garros: Thanasi Kokkinakis edges Stan Wawrinka after marathon


Eight years after achieving that for the first time, Thanasi Kokkinakis is back in the Roland Garros third round! The Aussie scored a notable 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 triumph over the 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in four hours and 38 minutes, repeating his best result at Majors. The Swiss veteran spent over nine hours on the court in two matches, prevailing in one marathon but failing to replicate that on Wednesday on Court Simonne-Mathieu. Thanasi claimed one point more than Stan, as they stayed neck and neck from start to finish. Wawrinka played better behind the second serve but failed to take advantage of that. Both players created 14 break chances, and the Aussie made the difference with five breaks on his tally. Kokkinakis denied 11 break points and stayed composed in the decider to emerge at the top and advance into the last 32. They had a similar number of winners, and the younger player sprayed more unforced errors. However, he drew 60 mistakes from his opponent and brought the victory home after a thriller.

Thanasi Kokkinakis bested Stan Wawrinka in five sets at Roland Garros. 

Thanasi had the upper hand in the shortest range up to four strokes. Stan erased the deficit in the mid-range exchanges, but it was not enough to carry him home after getting broken two times early in the final set. The Swiss served at 43% in the first set, and no one could notice that. He dropped one point behind the initial shot and kept the pressure on the other side. Kokkinakis followed that pace until the eighth game. Wawrinka broke him and wrapped up the opener with another fine hold at 5-3 for a reliable start. Firing from all cylinders, Stan grabbed another break in the second set’s fifth game and held at love for 4-2. Kokkinakis finally showed something more on the return in the eighth game, breaking back and producing good holds in games nine and 11. Wawrinka served to stay in the set at 5-6 and squandered game points. Thanasi prolonged the game and converted the third set point to level the overall score and gain momentum.

The Aussie used it nicely in the third set, dropping five points behind the initial shot and challenging the Swiss to follow that pace. Stan got broken in the second game to fall 2-0 behind and had no chances to pull it back, as Thanasi held in game nine to take two sets to one advantage. The younger player survived challenging service games in the fourth set’s games two and six and missed a break point at 4-4. They served well in the final three games to introduce a tie break, and Wawrinka forged a 5-0 advantage with excellent hitting. The Swiss grabbed the breaker 7-4 to force a decider and boost his chances. Kokkinakis made a fresh start and scored two early breaks for 4-0, moving closer to the finish line. Stan pulled one break back in game five and reduced the deficit to 5-3. Thanasi served for the victory in game nine and seized his fifth match point to emerge at the top and repeat his best result at Majors achieved eight years ago. 

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