Paris, France , 31 May 2024 | Vivienne Christie

Five-set battles are proving a Thanasi Kokkikankis trademark.

After launching his Roland Garros 2024 campaign with a marathon win over countryman Alexei Popyrin, the 100th-ranked Australian triumphed over Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri in another epic.

With his 1-6 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-2 victory, the 28-year-old Kokkinakis moves into the Roland Garros third round for the third time in his career.

(I’m) on fumes at the moment. It’s tough,” admitted Kokkinakis, who after his four-hour, 24-minute win over Popyrin, advanced in three hours and 45 minutes in the second round.

“I really need to try and do it easier but guys are good and I struggle with my focus a lot of the time.

“I mean, finding a win ugly is better than not winning at all but (it) definitely catches up with you in these Grand Slam matches.”

As often occurs in a Kokkinakis encounter, there were multiple twists and turns in the near four-hour contest, with the Australian undeniably flat in the early stages against the world No.148 Zeppieri.

After the first set passed in 34 minutes, rain interrupted the second; the Italian appeared all composure when he extended his lead to two sets on resumption.

“He made it tricky for me. He was an awkward player,” Kokkinakis related.

“I think he’s a lot better than his ranking … I just struggled to find rhythm and struggled to match up against him at the start.”

But when Kokkinakis secured a break for a 3-1 third-set lead, his winner count increasingly edged in favour of his errors.

He pressured Zeppieri with break point opportunities and while he couldn’t quite convert, maintained composure when the Italian served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set.

Kokkinakis secured the break, and then the tiebreak, to force a deciding set.

With the Italian appearing to fatigue, and treated for a leg complaint, the Australian drew on his experience as he closed out the five-set victory when a Zeppieri forehand sailed long.

“I thought I created a lot of break opportunities early in the fourth and I was starting to get on top of him and I didn’t take it,” said the South Australian.
“He served for the match with new balls and I was able to find a way again.”

Kokkinakis now prepares to meet No.12 seed Taylor Fritz in the third round.

Countryman Alex de Minaur also advanced in a career-best performance at the clay-court major, with a straight-sets win over Spain’s Jaume Munair.

It marks the first time that two Australian men have advanced to the Roland Garros third round since 2015.

Aussies in action – Roland Garros

Men’s singles, second round
[11] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Jaume Munar (ESP) 7-5 6-1 6-4
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d [Q] Giulio Zeppieri (ITA)  1-6 1-4 6-3 7-6(5) 6-2 

Men’s singles, third round
[11] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v [12] Taylor Fritz (USA)  

> VIEW: Roland Garros 2024 men’s singles draw

Women’s doubles, first round
[2] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Ingrid Gamarra Martins (BRA)/Olivia Nicholls (GBR)
Daria Saville (AUS)/Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v [16] Miyu Kato (JPN)/Nadiia Kichenok (UKR)

> VIEW: Roland Garros 2024 women’s doubles draw

Men’s doubles, first round
[2] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v [Alt] Sumit Nagal (IND)/Sebastian Ofner (AUT)
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS) v Tallon Griekspoor (NED)/Bart Stevens (NED)
John-Patrick Smith (AUS)/Denys Molchanov (UKR) v Petros Tsitsipas (GRE)/Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Guido Andreozzi (ARG) v Nicolas Barrientos (COL)/Francisco Cabral (POR)
John Peers (AUS)/Roman Safiullin v Yuki Bhambri (IND)/Albano Olivetti (FRA)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)/Denis Shapovalov (CAN) v [14] Nathaniel Lammons (USA)/Jackson Withrow (USA)

> VIEW: Roland Garros 2024 men’s doubles draw

Mixed doubles, first round
[1] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Matt Ebden (AUS) v [WC] Tessah Andrianjafitrimo (FRA)/Ugo Humbert (FRA)
Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA)/John Peers (AUS) v [5] Vera Zvonareva/Sander Gille (BEL)

> VIEW: Roland Garros 2024 mixed doubles draw

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