Hubert Hurkacz saves five match points to win a thriller as Thanasi Kokkinakis laments missed opportunity

Thanasi Kokkinakis played and lost another marathon match of the 2023 season, this time, however, against Hubert Hurkacz in the Miami Open.


Hubert Hurkacz saves five match points to win a thriller as Thanasi Kokkinakis laments missed opportunity

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Hubert Hurkacz

Nobody could believe Hubert Hurkacz‘s luck when he saved five match points and then won the match in an incredible first-round thriller against Thanasi Kokkinakis at Miami Open. All the three sets went to tie-breaks and both the players gave their every ounce of energy to win. However, in an encounter which lasted for more than 3 hours, the Polish tennis professional emerged victorious.

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The match was tough for World No.9 not only because the Australian was in great form and rhythm but also he was getting immense support from the crowd as well. In the first set, he saved six set points to win the tie-breaker and the first set. However, soon Hubert Hurkacz picked himself up and showed his class to win the match 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (8/6).

It’s tough to explain for me. I knew I was playing good tennis, I mean Thanasi [was] as well. I was just trying to stay in there and compete, play some good shots. Either way, if I won or I lost — obviously I wanted to win so, so much — but either way [I] should have been happy with myself,” he said right after winning the match.

In the second set tie-break, Hubert Hurkacz avoided the first three match points at 4/6, 5/6, and 6/7. Kokkinakis tripped up on a forehand volley on the first of those points, then missed forehands on the following two.

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Nonetheless, Thanasi Kokkinakis served at 6/4 in the final set tie-break, which is when the most amazing match point save occurred. Kokkinakis threw a slicing second serve into the body after missing his first serve, and Hurkacz answered by diverting the pace up the line for a return victory.

“Just felt he was going to go for another one,”  jubilant Hurkacz reminisced.

He did not take much time to finish the match after he got his chance.

Stealing a couple of points puts a little bit more pressure on the opponent and then sometimes the opponent tries to go for a bit extra and [with] that bit extra, you can miss that shot. I was trying to make an effort to compete for every single ball and put some pressure,” he continued.

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Hubert Hurkacz will take on Adrian Mannarino in his second-round match of the Miami Open 2023.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis squanders lead in the match again

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Thanasi Kokkinakis (Image Credit: Fox Sports)

The World No.94 started the match on a postive note. He had also won the first set and with the crowd rallying right behind, it felt like he would easily crush Hubert Hurkacz in the remaining set. However, soon his luck ran out and he lost the match.

It was obvious that Thanasi Kokkinakis would be upset. He shared his disappointement on social media. The Australian retweeted his old quote. He had shared this when he lost a similar thrilling encounter against Andy Murray in the Australian Open.

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It was one of the longest match played in the history of this Major. In that match too, Thanasi Kokkinakis was leading by winning the first two sets and was looking to finish the match in the third set. However, in the third set, he allowed the Briton to come back into the set and the match from behind, eventually squandering the opportunity to win and advance into the next round.

The scoreline read 4-6, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5) , 6-3, 7-5 in favour of Andy Murray. This is the second time this season Thanasi Kokkinakis has lost a match from a commanding position. He needs to improve upon his tendency to capitulate and only then he will be able to advance deeper in tournaments.

In case you missed it:

“Not gonna cry,” Daniil Medvedev hoping the ‘ball flies’ in Miami after the slow courts in Indian Wells

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