Paris, France, 2 June 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Thanasi Kokkinakis has advanced to the third round in singles at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in eight years.

After years of toil, injury setbacks and challenges, the 27-year-old Australian has a newfound appreciation for the achievement.

“The names you have to beat to progress, it’s just crazy how guys like (Novak) Djokovic and (Rafael) Nadal have won 20 of these,” Kokkinakis said after overcoming three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka in a five-set second-round battle.

“This stuff is so hard, to be honest. To try and win five sets is brutal. It’s a pain, especially on clay.”

The world No.108’s draw does not get any easier, with the towering Karen Khachanov awaiting in the third round.

World No.11 Khachanov has proven a difficult opponent of late for Australians at Grand Slam level. He scored a five-set win over Nick Kyrgios in the US Open quarterfinals last year and defeated Jason Kubler during a semifinal run at the Australian Open in January.

Kokkinakis, however, is unfazed by the challenge.

“I’m not trying to put a limit on myself,” he said. “What I do know is that I’m going to give myself every chance.”

Kokkinakis is hoping to become the first Australian man to advance to the round of 16 in Paris since Lleyton Hewitt in 2007.

Roland Garros is broadcast live in Australia on the Nine Network and Stan Sport, with coverage beginning from 6.30pm AEST.

Aussies in action on day six:

[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v [11] Karen Khachanov
Men’s singles, third round, Court Simonne-Mathieu, first match (from 7pm AEST)
As Kokkinakis looks to advance to a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time in his career, Khachanov is hoping to reach the final 16 in Paris for the sixth time in the past seven years. Kokkinakis has scored two impressive wins so far this tournament, including his first victory against a seeded opponent at a major in eight years. Now the Aussie wildcard is hoping to record his first top-20 win at a Grand Slam tournament since Australian Open 2015.
Head-to-head record: Khachanov leads 1-0
Last meeting: Khachanov won 7-5 6-4 (Monte Carlo, April 2018)

> VIEW: Roland Garros 2023 men’s singles draw

John Peers (AUS)/Marcelo Melo (BRA) v [7] Hugo Nys (MON)/Jan Zielinski (POL)
Men’s doubles, second round, Court 8, second match
World No.37 Peers is hoping to progress to the third round in Paris for the first time since 2019. The 34-year-old Australian and his Brazilian partner, former world No.1 Melo, face an in-form team. World No.14 Nys and world No.12 Zielinski are on a six-match winning streak and currently lead the ATP Race. The seventh seeds were finalists at the Australian Open and recently won their first ATP Masters 1000 title in Rome.

[3] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Danielle Collins (USA)/Emma Navarro (USA)
Women’s doubles, first round, Court 10, second match (not before 11pm AEST)
World No.5 Hunter begins her fifth Roland Garros doubles campaign in impressive form. The 28-year-old Australian made a career-best run in singles in Paris, reaching the second round as a qualifier. Hunter and Belgian partner world No.6 Mertens recently won the Rome doubles title as well and will start as favourites against American combination, first-time pairing Collins and Navarro.

> READ: Hunter determined to build on singles success at Roland Garros

Max Purcell (AUS)/Ben Shelton (USA) v Francisco Cabral (POR)/Rafael Matos (BRA)
Men’s doubles, second round, Court 9, third match
World No.53 Purcell is looking to match his career-best result at Roland Garros and reach the doubles third round for a second time. The 25-year-old Aussie is partnering Shelton, a 20-year-old American making his debut in Paris. They face the dangerous combination of world No.57 Cabral and world No.39 Matos, who eliminated reigning Australian Open champions Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler in the opening round.

[6] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Jan Zielinski (POL) v Chan Hao-Ching (TPE)/Fabrice Martin (FRA)
Mixed doubles, first round, Court 8, fourth match
World No.15 Perez is contesting mixed doubles at Roland Garros for the first time. The 27-year-old Aussie is partnering world No.12 Zielinski. The sixth seeds face a tricky first-round test against world No.26 Chan and local hope, world No.22 Martin.

> READ: Perez relishing a Roland Garros return

[5] Lyudmyla Kichenok (UKR)/Matt Ebden (AUS) v Ena Shibahara (JPN)/Jackson Withrow (USA)
Mixed doubles, first round, Court 12, fourth match
After the retirement of long-time partner Sam Stosur, world No.18 Ebden is now teaming up with world No.8 Kichenok. The fifth seeds play world No.21 Shibahara, who won the Roland Garros 2022 mixed doubles title, and her new partner, world No.33 Withrow.

> VIEW: Full Roland Garros 2023 day six schedule

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