Thanasi Kokkinakis fumes at rival's dodgy act amid latest tennis heroics at French Open

Kokkinakis pulled off a second straight late-night five-set comeback at the French Open.

Thanasi Kokkinakis has pulled off a second astonishing, late-night five-set comeback at the French Open. Kokkinakis became the second Australian to progress through to the second round after Alex de Minaur delivered a consummate 7-5 6-1 6-4 win over Jaume Munar on Thursday.

Kokkinakis stole the Aussie show by coming from two sets down to beat Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri 1-6 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 in a fiery contest. The win marked the third time Kokkinakis has made the third round at Roland Garros, but he once again had to do it the hard way. After needing five sets to beat compatriot Alexei Popyrin in the first round, Kokkinakis was once again taken the distance against Zeppieri.

But it was a move by his rival in the fourth set that gave the Aussie an extra bit of motivation. After Zeppieri had served for the match in the fourth set at 5-3, only for the 28-year-old Australian to simply refuse to give in taking the fourth set, his Italian competitor belted at the top of his lungs 'c'mon' after winning a point with a lucky smash off the frame.

Pictured left Thanasi Kokkinakis
Thanasi Kokkinakis has pulled off a second astonishing, late-night five-set comeback but came to blows with his Italian rival after an overzealous celebration. Image: Getty

The incident led to Kokkinakis having some choice words for his competitor after not taking kindly to his rival's overzealous celebration. "He yelled 'come on' or 'allez' after a shank, and I took that personally," Kokkinakis said post-match.

"I asked him if he had hit that with his strings. He said 'yes', and I said 'good joke'." Kokkinakis also came to blows with an Italian fan in the crowd who he claimed was hissing at him in between serves from the stands.

"Some guy with an Italian flag started hissing at five-all in the tiebreak on my second serve right as I threw the toss-up. It backfired on him because Zeppieri missed his smash," Kokkinakis revealed. The Aussie was so enraged by the incident though that he yelled out at the flag-carrying fans, demanding to know "which of you wankers" was responsible. "That doesn't sound like something I'd say," Kokkinakis chuckled post-match. "I told him I wasn't too pleased with him - very politely."

But the Aussie wasn't to be deterred. Despite the Aussie being in visible discomfort himself, after another physical five-set contest, he managed to outplay his opponent in the deciding set to progress through to the third round under lights just before midnight on Court 10.

"I'm running on fumes at the moment, it's tough," Kokkinakis said after the game. "I really need to do it easier but guys are good and I struggle with my focus a lot of the time. Finding a win ugly is better than not winning at all, but it definitely catches up with you in these grand slam matches." Kokkinakis will meet American No.1 Taylor Fritz in the third round.

Both Aussie players' matches were delayed due to incessant rain in Paris on Thursday. And while it took a while for Kokkinakis to get going, De Minaur had no such problem as he raced into the third round in two hours and 11 minutes, blitzing Spaniard Jaume Munar 7-5 6-1 6-4.


It marks the first time in the Aussie star's career that he's made it past the second round at Roland Garros. "It feels great," De Minaur said. "It's something that I've always thought that I was gonna be able to achieve in my career.

"Just good to finally be able to be in the third round and keep on going, because ultimately, my goal is not to make the third round, it's to go for bigger and better things. And I'm just keeping myself alive and ready for the next round."

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 30: Alex De Minaur of Australia celebrates a point against Jaume Munar of Spain in the Men's Singles second round match during Day Five of the 2024 French Open at Roland Garros on May 30, 2024 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Alex De Minaur raced into the third round in two hours and 11 minutes, blitzing Spaniard Jaume Munar 7-5 6-1 6-4.

with AAP