Roland Garros: Kokkinakis notches big win to reach round two
Thanasi Kokkinakis has scored one of the biggest Grand Slam victories of his career, upsetting 20th seed Dan Evans to reach the second round at Roland Garros.
Thanasi Kokkinakis advanced to the second round at Roland Garros for the first time in eight years, following an impressive upset of Dan Evans.
Kokkinakis beat the No.20 seed 6-4 6-4 6-4 to score his second-biggest win of his career at a Grand Slam, by opponent’s ranking.
The biggest came when he stunned world No.13 Ernests Gulbis in the first round of Australian Open 2015, when he was an 18-year-old wildcard.
Season 2015 was also the last time Kokkinakis was victorious in a main-draw match in Paris.
His previous win came over fellow Australian Bernard Tomic, a match Kokkinakis won 8-6 in the fifth set to reach the third round.
That remains his best result at a Grand Slam tournament, something he will have a chance to equal when he next faces either Stan Wawrinka or Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Into the #RolandGarros second round for the first time since 2015 👏
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 28, 2023
And that shapes as a winnable match, given neither Wawrinka or Ramos-Vinolas are ranked inside the top 60.
Kokkinakis looked particularly comfortable in the warm, lively conditions on Sunday in Paris, finishing with 10 aces among 46 winners and just 26 unforced errors.
He served commandingly and enjoyed consistent success with his forehand, which frequently beat Evans with its speed and heaviness.
Kokkinakis threatened to break in a lengthy fifth game but despite missing that opportunity, did so in the seventh game and went on to take the opening set behind 17 winners.
Down 1-4 in the second, Kokknakis reeled off five straight games against an increasingly rattled Evans, who became agitated after being called for a second-serve foot fault.
In the fifth game of the third set, Kokkinakis struck another forehand winner – by now he led 21-8 in this stat category – en route to another break.
He consolidated it to take a 4-2 lead, and despite a minor wobble that saw him drop serve in the eighth game on a double fault, he broke straight back with another forehand winner.
Serving for the match, he remained calm and completed the task after two-and-a-half hours.
It marked his first win over Evans since 2015.
The victory is a continuation of a solid clay-court season for the Aussie, who has now won seven matches on the surface. Earlier this month he qualified for the Rome Masters and went on to reach the second round.
And this has formed part of a restorative season overall for the 27-year-old.
Kokkinakis fell as low as 159th in mid January but briefly returned to the top 100 and currently sits at No.108.
He has now won 24 of his 36 matches in 2023.
Aussies in action – Roland Garros
Men’s singles, first round
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d  Dan Evans (GBR) 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] Storm Hunter (AUS) d Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) 4-6 6-2 6-4
[WC] Leolia Jeanjean (FRA) d [WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3
Men’s singles, first round
 Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Ilya Ivashka
Max Purcell (AUS) v Jordan Thompson (AUS)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [Q] Aslan Karatsev
Chris O’Connell (AUS) v Taro Daniel (JPN)
Men’s singles, second round
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v TBC
Jason Kubler (AUS) v TBC
Women’s singles, second round
[Q] Storm Hunter (AUS) v TBC
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