Alex de Minaur, Thanasi Kokkinakis advance to third round at Roland-Garros


Thanasi Kokkinakis has won consecutive five-setters to reach the third round.Credit: Getty Images

De Minaur began his clay court season in April with a fourth round at the Monte-Carlo Masters, where he tried but fell to Novak Djokovic, before becoming the first Australian to beat Rafael Nadal on the surface in Barcelona.

He then beat world number 20 Felix Auger Aliassime en route to the last 16 at the Rome Masters, ensuring he entered Roland-Garros confident he could improve on his underwhelming Grand Slam record.

The 25-year-old spoke of how he was a “completely different player” on the red clay than he used to be after his first-round win against Alex Michelsen on Tuesday, and he proved it with an authoritative performance against Munar.

Inclement weather has wreaked havoc on the schedule for the first week of the Grand Slam, with de Minaur again having to endure rain delays even after finally arriving on court six after 6 p.m. late local time.

He never realized, but he had to negotiate a complicated first set full of breaks that he could not initially serve at 5-4. De Minaur nearly stumbled for a second time two games later before reeling off three straight backhand winners from break point to secure the set.

Munar didn't help his cause with seven double faults in the first set and 12 in total, a problem that also dogged him at key moments in the second set.

De Minaur broke her Spanish opponent to start the next set and was 2-1 ahead when the rain intervened again.

The hour-long break did not stop his momentum, with Munar sending his eighth and ninth double faults of the match – either side of a brilliant backhand winner from the 11th Australian – to concede once more after the resumption.

With girlfriend and fellow player Katie Boulter cheering from the stands, de Minaur raced to a two-set lead at love soon after, despite landing just 25 percent of her own first serves in the second set.

De Minaur's girlfriend and fellow player Katie Boulter was part of his support team.

De Minaur's girlfriend and fellow player Katie Boulter was part of his support team.Credit: Getty Images

The third set was more competitive, but Munar, a solid but unspectacular player who lacks the weapons to hurt De Minaur, was never in the mood to change the course of the contest, especially when he argued with the umpire the chair and then called the supervisor to the court for a complaint.

De Minaur timed her run to perfection, holding for 5-4 and then putting Munar under pressure at 0-30 with a stunning backhand cross winner to the net for her opponent number 64. The back-to-back forehand errors they sealed Munar's fate and de Minaur's place in the third round after two hours and 11 minutes.

He finished with 25 winners to Munar's 21 and didn't face a break point in the last two sets, but will have to go to another level against his next opponent, Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff, who is one of players in form on clay.


Struff dismissed 19th seed Alexander Bublik 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to book his place in the last eight. title in mid-April, and it took Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas to stop him in his other three clay events this year.

De Minaur won their most recent match in Miami two months ago, but Struff has claimed two of their five meetings with him, including their only meeting on clay in Monte-Carlo last year.

With AAP

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