Paris, France, 2 June 2024 | Matt Trollope

After coming through five-sets wins in the first and second rounds at Roland Garros, Thanasi Kokkinakis admitted he was “running on fumes” entering his third-round clash with Taylor Fritz.

“Finding a win ugly is better than not winning at all,” Kokkinakis said. “(But) it’s tough, I really need to try to do it easier.”

It made sense, then, when Fritz stormed to a two-set lead in just over an hour. But impressively, Kokkinakis made this another epic, wresting the third and fourth sets from the top American and giving him a scare early in the fifth before succumbing 6-3 6-2 6-7(4) 5-7 6-3.

“I was really close, I found a way to put myself in a real good position. Wasn’t to be. Can’t win them all,” Kokkinakis lamented after bowing out in a near-four-hour contest.

“This was obviously the closest I’ve been to making the fourth round, so that one from that aspect is tough.

“Sometimes you win these long tight ones, sometimes you lose them; the margins in tennis are very fine.

“The only thing I can do is keep showing up and keep putting myself in positions, and have that good attitude and see how we go.”

Illustrating that point about margins, Kokkinakis very nearly pulled off a second straight comeback from two-sets-to-love down in Paris, having done so in the second round against Giulio Zeppieri.

After levelling the match against Fritz at two sets all, Kokkinakis held break points in both the third and fifth games before the American escaped.

It leaves Alex de Minaur as the last remaining Australian in the singles draw this year at Roland Garros.

> READ MORE: De Minaur battles into fourth round at Roland Garros

This would have represented Kokkinakis’ biggest-ever win, by ranking, at a Grand Slam event had he gone on to beat world No.12 Fritz, coming more than nine years on from his upset of 13th-ranked Ernests Gulbis at Australian Open 2015.

And after three trips to the third round at Roland Garros – the major where he now clearly performs best – Kokkinakis was extremely close to progressing to the last 16 at a Slam for the first time.

“I’m getting closer and closer. I’m hoping a breakthrough’s not too far away,” said the world No.100.

“But I’ve got to keep working, got to keep giving myself opportunities against these big guys. Because I’ve proven I’ve got the ability to beat these guys, so I’ve just got to keep putting myself in the position to give myself a chance to do so.

“I think I’m a lot closer than my ranking would suggest; (that) has been the case probably a long part of my career.

“But I’ve just got to keep putting the runs on the board.”

Aussies in action – Roland Garros


Men’s singles, third round
[11] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-3
[12] Taylor Fritz (USA) d Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-3 6-2 6-7(4) 5-7 6-3


Men’s singles, fourth round
[11] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v [5] Daniil Medvedev

> VIEW: Roland Garros 2024 men’s singles draw

Men’s doubles, first round
[2] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v [Alt] Orlando Luz (BRA)/Marcelo Zormann (BRA)
John-Patrick Smith (AUS)/Denys Molchanov (UKR) v Petros Tsitsipas (GRE)/Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)

Men’s doubles, second round
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [7] Wesley Koolhof (NED)/Nikola Mektic (CRO) 4-6 6-4 1-1 to finish
John Peers (AUS)/Roman Safiullin v [10] Sander Gille (BEL)/Joran Vliegen (BEL)
Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Guido Andreozzi (ARG) v TBC

> VIEW: Roland Garros 2024 men’s doubles draw

Women’s doubles, second round
[2] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Wang Xiyu (CHN)/Yuan Yue (CHN)

> VIEW: Roland Garros 2024 women’s doubles draw

Mixed doubles, first round
Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA)/John Peers (AUS) v [5] Vera Zvonareva/Sander Gille (BEL)

Mixed doubles, second round
[1] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Matt Ebden (AUS) v TBC

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