Thanasi Kokkinakis helps make insane tennis history as Aussie drama stuns at Wimbledon

The Aussie battler became the eighth man to come back from two-sets down to win in the first round.

Thanasi Kokkinakis has continued his incredible penchant for coming back to win in five sets at grand slams, stunning 17th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon on Wednesday. The Aussie came back from two sets down and saved four match points to produce an incredible victory that stunned the tennis world and made some unique history in the process.

It was the eighth victory from a player two-sets down at this year's tournament - the most in the first round in Wimbledon history. Kokkinakis completed a two-day marathon match that was disrupted by rain, beating Auger-Aliassime 4-6 5-7 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 6-4.

Thanasi Kokkinakis at Wimbledon.
Thanasi Kokkinakis came back from two-sets down to win at Wimbledon. Image: Getty/Wimbledon

It followed two similar epic five-set triumphs at the recent French Open for Kokkinakis, including a win from two-sets down against Italian player Giulio Zeppieri. The Aussie battler has now gone to five sets in five of his six grand slam matches this year.

"I'd rather not [keep playing five-setters]," Kokkinakis said with a smile on court - to much laughter from the crowd. "It doesn't help me going deeper into the tournament, that's for sure. Thankfully, it is best-of-five, otherwise I wouldn't have won many matches this year. The beauty of five sets is it's a rollercoaster, with lots of momentum swings. You just have to keep playing and see what happens."

Thanasi Kokkinakis, pictured here after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon.
Thanasi Kokkinakis celebrates after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The World No.93 had been on the brink of defeat in straight sets when Auger-Aliassime had four match points in the third-set tie-breaker. But Kokkinakis saved them all and won the breaker by the skin of his teeth.

After the match was postponed for the day at the start of the fourth, the Australian returned to take his chances on Wednesday on an outside court made slippery by the constant drizzle which twice further held up the match. He will now play Lucas Pouille in the second round and could face compatriot Alex de Minaur in the third.

The news wasn't so good for Jordan Thompson on Wednesday, who couldn't cope with the excellence of American player Brandon Nakashima, succumbing in three one-sided sets 6-3 6-2 6-2. Nakashima was dominant in every department as World No.40 Thompson - in the middle of a breakout season - appeared powerless and unable to convert.

But the Aussie was left adamant he hadn't under-performed but was just beaten by a man playing lights-out tennis. "I think he played incredible," shrugged Thompson. "Nothing's wrong - he just played a great match."


Fellow Sydneysider Aleksander Vukic followed up under the roof of No.1 Court, but was no match for Spanish superstar Carlos Alcaraz. The Aussie did give the defending champion an early scare and served for the first set, but the 21-year-old Alcaraz moved into an unstoppable higher gear to triumph 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 6-2.

World No.69 Vukic reeled off four games in a row to serve for the opening stanza, only for the champion to suddenly find his range. The 28-year-old Vukic is the only Aussie ever to beat Alcaraz in the pro ranks, after defeating him in French Open qualifying four years ago when he was just 17.

"But he was a child then," reflected Vukic. Alcaraz blasted 42 winners once he found his stride and set up a third-round date with Frances Tiafoe.

with AAP