Groth Downs Kokkinakis in 5 Sets at Australian Open

by John on January 21, 2015

Groth v Kokkinakis

Australian Sam Groth defeated fellow countryman and 18-year-old emerging star Thanasi Kokkinakis 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 in a high-octane second-round matchup at the Australian Open Wednesday night. Holder of the world’s fastest-ever recorded serve, the 27-year-old Groth pounded out 26 aces in reaching the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time. Groth improved to 3-4 in majors. The win continued Groth’s remarkable climb from journeyman pro — slogging away in Futures and Challenger tournaments in distant parts of the world — to dangerous Grand Slam floater. Just less than four years ago, discouraged with his progress in tennis and mired in a messy divorce, Groth in fact put down his rackets and played Australian Rules Football for eight months. Currently ranked No. 82, Groth cracked the Top 100 for the first time last July. “The journey I’ve taken the last two years, the last 10 years, the last 20 years, it’s a pretty amazing feeling,” Groth said. “I feel like I’m in career best form and I’m where I’m at in the rankings for a reason. I’ll come back firing on Friday. I have an opportunity to play in the second week.” Kokkinakis, who was sterling in defeat, admitted he ran out of gas after upsetting No. 13 seed Ernests Gulbis in his first-ever five-set match Monday night. “I felt pretty zapped,” the 18-year old said after the 2-hour and 53-minute battle with Groth. Threatening to pull off a second comeback win from two sets to one down in 48 hours, Kokkinakis tweaked a hamstring early in the fifth set and went down meekly as Groth poured it on. Groth landed 65 percent of his first serves and won 77 percent of the points on the first delivery. Kokkinakis’ numbers were 63 and 81 percent respectively. Groth saved two of four break points, Kokkinakis four of eight. Next up for Groth is another Aussie, 22-year-old Bernard Tomic. No longer, as former world No. 1 Jim Courier put it, is Groth a serving “novelty act.”

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