Thanasi Kokkinakis rocks French Open with 'shocking' eight-year first

The Aussie left fans stunned after the dramatic opening match.

Thanasi Kokkinakis celebrates and Kokkinakis gestures to his player's box at Roland Garros.
Thanasi Kokkinakis (pictured) defeated 20th seed Dan Evans at Roland Garros. (Images: Getty Images/Twitter)

Aussie tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis has defied the odds to defeat Brit Dan Evans in straight sets to advance to the second round of Roland Garros for the first time in eight years. Kokkinakis hadn't advanced to the second round in Paris since 2015, but the Aussie took the game to the 20th seed to defeat Evans 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Th Aussie wildcard entered Paris having played a number of Challenger events in Italy and France to gain momentum for the main event. And the 27-year-old proved too strong for a staggered Evans after winning three close sets.

HUGE: Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz in staggering French open draw

BRUTAL BLOW: Sad news caps off tough French Open draw for Aussies

The World No.111 got the break-through in the first set when he lobbed Evans to take the lead 4-3. He was able to close out the set holding his nerve on serve.

Evans took a bathroom break in between sets and the reset appeared to help him find another gear. The 20th seed broke Kokkinakis and looked ready to fight his way back into the match.

However, the match took a wild turn in the second set when Evans unravelled after a foot fault. At 30-15, Evans was called for a foot fault.

The call appeared to get into the British player's head as he went on to lose the game. Evans then shattered his racquet before going after the chair umpire in a tirade.

Kokkinakis then broke Evans - after holding a tight service game where he was forced to save a number of break points - and served out the set. Nerves hit the Australian in the third set as he double faulted at 4-3 to give Evans a look in.

Thanasi Kokkinakis celebrates at the French Open.
Thanasi Kokkinakis (pictured) celebrates his win over Dan Evans at Roland Garros. (Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

But the Aussie's confidence remained as he broke back with a stunning return down the line to give himself the opportunity to serve it out. And the Aussie did so to reach the second round for the first time in eight years.

The last time Kokkinakis advanced he defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili, before knocking out fellow Aussie Bernard Tomic in 2015. He lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the third round.

Dan Evans devastated after Thanasi Kokkinakis defeat

Following the defeat, Evans was seething and took aim at his game. “I said the other day there’s some soul-searching,” the 20th seed said.

“There will be plenty of that tonight. Got to get on and try and get my game in a good spot. It’s shocking right now how I played today. It’s disappointing. I thought [I was] in a good spot coming in, but I felt like that the whole time. It’s not good enough.”

Kokkinakis will now play Stan Wawrinka or Spanish clay specialist Albert Ramos Vilonas. Elsewhere, fellow Aussie Storm Hunter also advanced into the second round having defeated Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Hunter earned her French Open spot having fought her way through qualifying and was able to recover from a set down to advance to the second round.

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.