Kokkinakis Completes Comeback From Two Sets Down To Book Spot In The Third Round Of The French Open

If there’s one thing you have to love about Thanasi Kokkinakis, it’s his fighting attitude, something his fellow Australians Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic don’t show too often when they’re out of it. Well today, Kokkinakis has showed it again coming back from two sets to love down and form 5-2 down in the final set to defeat countryman Bernard Tomic 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 8-6. Tomic, seeded 27th, may have been the higher ranked of the two men, but it was never going to be easy for him seeing as he’s been poor on the clay this year.

The younger Australian had trouble finding his first serves and winning second serve points in the opening set. The two dreadful stats that haunted him were hitting less than 50 percent on the first and winning just 38 percent of his second serve points. These numbers allowed Tomic to be attack the Kokkinakis second serve to get into his service games. Tomic converted two of his three break points to take the opening set 6-3.

The second set was much better from Kokkinakis in terms of first serve percentage, hitting 63 percent of those in. Despite that, he had another major statistic on which he was on the wrong end of, and it was the fact that he went 0/6 on break point opportunities. Tomic did not serve any better than Kokkinakis did in the opener, but took advantage of his break opportunities by converting one of his two chances to give him a two sets to none lead.

Despite being down to sets to love, the younger Australian has always showed a willingness to give it his all. That will finally paid off in the third set. Although he was woeful on break point chances again, converted one of seven, he kept his countryman in check by holding him off on his three break point opportunities. His ability to control play picked up in this set as he hit 18 winners, 8 of which were aces, while Tomic had a 11 unforced errors which showcased his struggles in this set.

With the momentum, Kokkinakis continued to ride that wave to try and force this match five. It was another set of tennis in which he would dictate on his terms. 20 winners, 86 percent of first serve points won, and 45 percent of return points won were the highlights for him in this set. The stats were not the talking point of the set for Kokkinakis though. Near the end of the set, he was slowed down by the fact he took a hard fall onto the frame of racket. The fall left a fairly sizable contusion on the right side of his ribs.

Seeing a countryman and friend hurt was tough for Tomic, but play had to continue. He took advantage of that pain to storm out to a 5-2 lead in the second also rediscovering the form he displayed in the first two sets in the process. Kokkinakis wasn’t ready to let it end just yet though. He saved three match points as he rattled off three consecutive games to nod the deciding set at five apiece. Serving first has its perks in the final set as Tomic held for 6-5 to put the pressure back on his opponent. Kokkinakis replicated what he did earlier in the set by rattling off three straight games, including the break at six-all and coming back from 0-30 down in the final game, to take the match and send him to his first ever Grand Slam third round. Thanasi Kokkinakis becomes the first teenager since Ernests Gulbis in 2008 (quarterfinalist) to make the third round of the French Open. He will face Novak Djokovic in the third round after he defeated Gilles Muller in straight sets. 

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