Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis stun as Novak Djokovic caught in ugly French Open scenes

The Aussie tennis players both advanced to the third round at Roland Garros alongside the World No.1.

Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis have both advanced to the third round of the French Open in contrasting fashion, while Novak Djokovic clashed with a heckling fan and used it to produce his finest performance in months. De Minaur and Kokkinakis gave Australia two players in the third round, with de Minaur blitzing Jaume Munar of Spain 7-5 6-1 6-4.

It was a completely different story for Kokkinakis, who came back from two sets down to prevail in another five-set epic that he's all-too familiar with. After dropping the first two sets to Giulio Zeppieri of Italy, Kokkinakis stormed home to win 1-6 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Both Aussie players were made to wait as rain drenched Paris on Thursday (local time), but de Minaur showed no ill-affects as he raced into the third round in two hours and 11 minutes. It marks the first time in the Aussie star's career that he's made it past the second round at the clay-court grand slam.

Alex de Minaur, Novak Djokovic and Thanasi Kokkinakis at the French Open.
Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis advanced to the third round, while Novak Djokovic clashed with a fan at the French Open. Image: Getty

"It feels great. Ultimately, it's something that I've always thought that I was going to be able to achieve in my career," said de Minaur of his career first.

"I thought there's no reason why I can't do it. So it's 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."

Alex de Minaur at the French Open.
Alex de Minaur in action against Jaume Munar at the French Open.

Kokkinakis' win marks the third time he's 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.

The Aussie was on the brink of defeat when he trailed 3-5 in the fourth set, and Zeppieri produced a shocking miss on what should have been an easy winner at 5-5 in the subsequent tie-breaker. Kokkinakis cashed in on his opponent's mistakes as the Italian battled cramps in the final set.


Meanwhile, the French Open crowd has once again drawn the ire of players and fans - and this time it was Djokovic caught in the middle. The World No.1 was left fuming at a heckling spectator, but responded with his best performance of the clay-court season to book his place in the third round.

Amid some very patchy form of late, Djokovic delivered a blistering display to dismantle Spanish clay-courter Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4 6-1 6-2 on Court Philippe Chatrier. And he got a little help from an heckler who fired him up.

With Djokovic leading 5-4 in a tough first, the Serb was left perturbed when the man in the front row had called 'out' while he was chasing down a drop-shot. Djokovic complained to the chair umpire, which prompted a chorus of jeers from the crowd who love baiting the defending champ.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here complaining to the umpire about the French Open fan.
Novak Djokovic complained to the umpire about the French Open fan.

Djokovic just smiled at the crowd's reaction and ended up playing a perfect game to break for the first set. From there he rediscovered his mojo and never looked back, winning 13 of the next 16 games to prevail.

"He shouted actually a few words during the rally," Djokovic explained after the match. "He was there in the first row, and he started from the beginning of the match.

"He went on several times, which was fine, supporting my opponent, but I thought that this was a bit of a hindrance as he was so close and then, as I was about to hit the ball, he was shouting. So that's what I asked the chair umpire, but he explained that he cannot call that a hindrance.

"Look, they are very passionate fans. At times they are not easy and I have been having some love affairs with the fans here. I have experienced both sides."

The ugly scenes came after spectators were banned from drinking alcohol in the stands at Roland Garros following David Goffin's complaint that a fan spat chewing gum at him. Spectators will not be allowed to drink in their seats for the remainder of the tournament, with tournament director Amelie Mauresmo saying security had been tightened and umpires had been told to be stricter with unruly crowd behaviour.

"Alcohol was until now authorised in the stands. Now it's over," said Mauresmo. "We are happy people are very enthusiastic about watching tennis and being part of the matches, showing feeling and emotions, but there are definitely steps which shouldn't go further. A few things have needed to be put in place."

with AAP