Kokkinakis ousts Tomic from French Open
TENNIS: Thanasi Kokkinakis has overcome injury, a two-set deficit and three match points to oust seeded Australian countryman Bernard Tomic and set up a third-round French Open showdown with Novak Djokovic.
Kokkinakis looked to have cruelled his chances after hurting his hip and cutting his stomach in a nasty tumble deep in the fourth set.
But the tenacious teenager recovered after two medical time-outs to claw his way back from 5-2 down in the fifth and deciding set to prevail 3-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 8-6 after three hours and 22 minutes.
"My hip is pretty sore," he said.
"Physically I felt pretty good the whole match, though. Just trusted the work I did all through.
"I had a lot of matches so I felt like I had the miles under my legs. But, yeah, my hip is pretty sore right now."
Djokovic confirmed his appointment with Kokkinakis on Saturday with a 6-1 6-4 6-4 dismissal of Gilles Muller.
"I just can't wait to get out there," Kokkinakis said.
"I am going to give it what I got and hopefully I come out with the right result."
Kokkinakis and seeded big guns Nick Kyrgios and Samantha Stosur are Australia's last three survivors in the singles draws.
Kyrgios will face world No.3 Andy Murray, a 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1 winner over Joao Sousa, for a spot in the round of 16 after being handed a walkover into the last 32 when his scheduled British opponent Kyle Edmund withdrew because of an abdominal strain.
Stosur, a former runner-up and two-times semi-finalist, takes on defending champion Maria Sharapova on Friday in the first big women's showdown of the tournament.
Battling an energy-sapping virus, Tomic entered Thursday's match under a fitness cloud, but he played two fine first sets to look in total command as Kokkinakis was unable to convert any of his first 12 break-point chances.
"Every time I didn't take a break point it was like someone shot an arrow to me," Kokkinakis said.
"I can't even explain how berserk I was going. At one point I said, get me off the court. Luckily I didn't."
Kokkinakis seemed to have wrestled back control until his fall, with even Tomic believing his Davis Cup teammate was in big trouble.
"I actually thought he could have hurt himself a lot more," Tomic said.
"I saw in the locker-room, he has a lot of problems in that thing, a lot of blood.
"I'm happy that he's okay because that fall is much worse than it looked ... he could have got a lot more injured because of that."
Kokkinakis, who pulled off a similarly courageous five-set first-round win over world No.11 Ernests Gulbis, broke Tomic again to nudge ahead 7-6 and calmly served out the match after three hours and 22 minutes.
"He did a good job to come back. I kind of screwed up in the end," Tomic said.
"Good credit to him."