Alex de Minaur has continued Australia’s remarkable day with rousing victory at Melbourne Park, while Thanasi Kokkinakis is turning up the heat on Andy Murray.
A fiery Thanasi Kokkinakis is locked in an Australian Open marathon with Andy Murray.
The two are currently in the fourth set of a classic encounter that started at around 10:30pm local time.
Kokkinakis won the opening two sets and served for the match in the third set, only for Murray to come roaring back.
He broke the Australian and went on to win the third set in a tiebreak.
The match has been full of drama, with Kokkinakis involved in a fiery exchange with the chair umpire which threatened to derail his shot at victory.
Leading by a break in the third set, Kokkinakis was given a time violation for taking too long between points.
It followed an earlier violation given to Murray which the Scot was also not pleased with.
Kokkinakis was immediately enraged and let the referee know all about it.
“No mate, what are you doing?,” he screamed.
“I’m waiting. What is that s***? You can’t call that while I’m waiting for quiet. I was there, I waited, he (a fan) said something, I go again.
“You are just saying that because you felt bad about his (Murray’s earlier time violation).
“That’s 100 per cent.
“What’s the problem then? No, no, no you’re not waiting for s***.
“I’ve been waiting for him (the fan) to stop talking. What are you talking about?
“You’re wrong, you’re wrong again.”
Earlier, it was a nervy start from the Australian crowd favourite, who was forced to save multiple break points in his opening service game against the three-time grand slam champion Murray.
However, once he settled into the match, he looked right at home on Margaret Court Arena.
In front of a packed house, Kokkinakis snatched the break in the fifth game and never looked back.
He raced through his remaining service games to secure the opening set 6-4.
There was plenty of drama in the second set, with Kokkinakis again the first man to strike after securing the break at 4-4.
But he was unable to hold onto the advantage and despite having three set points on his own serve found himself battling in a tie-breaker.
A double fault on a fourth set point threatened to bring back some bad memories but an ace on the following point delivered Kokkinakis the set.
‘LET’S GO’: DEMON SENDS AUSSIE CROWD INTO A FRENZY
– Owen Leonard
Blow-up kangaroos, one-eyed fans draped in Australian flags and chants of ‘Oi Oi Oi’ made Alex de Minaur’s second-round clash feel more like the Lleyton Hewitt days of old as ‘The Demon’ delivered once more.
Frenchman Adrian Mannarino put up a fight early in the Thursday night duel, losing the first set only after a tie break before winning the second.
A long battle looked likely over the third set but de Minaur’s trademark agility and speed began to overwhelm the world no.45 as the match progressed.
In fourth set, de Minaur simply dominated, dropping only one game en route to a stirring 6-7 6-4 4-6 1-6 triumph.
If being reminded of the Hewitt days didn’t come through the fanatics-style chants ringing around John Cain Arena it surely did on the big screen, whenever the two-time grand slam winner’s face appeared from de Minaur’s player box.
Seated alongside de Minaur’s partner and fellow tennis pro Katie Boulter, Hewitt’s role as a mentor for Australia’s brightest tournament hope comes nearly 15 years to the date since his famous marathon win over Marcos Baghdatis.
A decade-and-a-half on, green and gold once again poured into Melbourne Park, this time cheering on the softly spoken 23-year-old from Sydney.
He might not roar ‘come on’ quite like his mentor, but the crowd made up for that.
Speaking post-match, de Minaur summed up his performance with the same words of his pumped-up supporters.
“Let’s go!” He yelled in the microphone.
“I enjoyed every second of it. It was a battle.
“I wouldn’t have been able to without you guys (the crowd), you gave me energy. Let’s keep this wave going.”
His next opponent is Benjamin Bonzi, who won a fifth-set tie break to set up the third-round clash.
“I think it’s going to be an incredibly tough match with a lot of long rallies,” de Minaur said, before drawing on the crowd’s energy one last time.
“But, hey, if I’ve got you guys by my side … I hope to see you all out there,” he said.
‘MOODY AS HELL’: THANASI’S FIRST IMPRESSION OF ‘MISERABLE’ MURRAY
Thanasi Kokkinakis is moments away from one of the biggest matches of his career when he takes on Andy Murray for a spot in the Australian Open third round.
And after a host of massive upsets at Melbourne Park today, the draw is wide open should he be able to push through and win.
Kokkinakis has a long history with Murray, with the duo training together many times. The Scot also took the young Aussie under his wing when Kokkinakis first hit the circuit.
But how has Kokkinakis’ perception of Murray changed over the years?
It’s fair to say he is very different to what the home town hero initially thought.
“We get along really well. I actually really like him off the court,” Kokkinakis said after his round one win.
“I remember watching him when I was younger thinking this dude looks moody as hell, he looks miserable.
“Then when you got to know him, he is actually a ripper bloke and a good guy.”
DEMON LOCKED IN BATTLE WITH FRENCHMAN MANNARINO
The Demon looks in for a long night but the parochial Melbourne Park crowd is here for it.
Not much separated de Minaur and Adrian Mannarino in the opening two sets, with the Aussie forced to claim a tie break in the first before the Frenchman hit back with a 6-4 second.
With plenty of green and gold spread throughout John Cain Arena and the obligatory blown-up kangaroo, as well as Lleyton Hewitt in de Minaur’s player box, it has all the makings of a compelling marathon match.
Whoever wins the clash will face either Spaniard Pablo Carreno or Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi. Those two are currently locked in a marathon match of their own at two sets apiece.
THANASI’S PLAN AFTER UGLY MURRAY LESSON
More than seven years after being blown away in a one-sided Davis Cup semi-final, Thanasi Kokkinakis has declared himself “ready” for another blockbuster against Andy Murray.
A 19-year-old Kokkinakis lost 3-6 0-6 3-6 to the then World No. 3 in Glasgow in a cup tie dominated by Murray, who launched Great Britain to its first Davis Cup final in almost four decades.
After his straight-sets demolition of Italy’s Fabio Fognini, Kokkinakis said Murray “handed it to me that day”.
“Yeah, it’s going to be a tough match. I’ve played him a while ago in Davis Cup. Yeah,
he definitely handed it to me that day, but I’m ready now. I feel good,” Kokkinakis told reporters.
“It’s going to be a tough match obviously. I watched a fair bit of his match against Berrettini, and he played great.
“He is looking in good shape. I practised with him a fair bit recently. Just going to continue to play my game.”
Kokkinakis said while Murray might be in the twilight of his career, we would be wary of the world No. 66 — who is playing with a metal hip.
“He may have lost a little bit, but his anticipation is just as good as ever, and he can still play at the top of the best of them,” he said.
“I’m going to be ready for the best version of Murray, and, yeah, I’m going to go out there and play my game, play aggressive, and hopefully come out best.”
Kokkinakis attracted a vocal crowd during his victory over Fognini and said he hoped the home support would give him an edge.
“(I’ve) practised with him a lot, played with him a lot. It’s just going to come down to executing on the day.
“I’ve seen him a lot on TV, know him pretty well. Yeah, I don’t think it changes too much who I play, to be honest. If I play my game and I do that well, I give myself a chance.”
Originally published as Australian Open 2023: Thanasi Kokkinakis vs Andy Murray, Alex de Minaur vs Adrian Mannarino live