Match Report

Hurkacz Saves 5 MPs, Downs Kokkinakis In Longest Three-Set Match Of 2023

Memorable encounter lasts three hours, 31 minutes
March 26, 2023
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Hubert Hurkacz defeats Thanasi Kokkinakis in three sets to reach the third round in Miami. By ATP Staff

In what will go down as one of the best comebacks and matches of the year, 2021 Miami Open presented by Itau champion Hubert Hurkacz saved five match points en route to a memorable 6-7(10), 7-6(7), 7-6(6) victory against Thanasi Kokkinakis on Saturday evening.

Hurkacz saved three match points in the second-set tie-break and another two in the final-set tie-break, ultimately finding a way to win after three hours and 31 minutes, marking the longest best-of-three match of the season.

“It’s tough to explain for me. I knew I was playing good tennis, I mean Thanasi [was] as well,” Hurkacz said directly after his win. “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.”

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The eighth seed saved the first three match points at 4/6, 5/6 and 6/7 in the second-set tie-break. On the first of those points, Kokkinakis jammed himself on a forehand volley right on top of the net, then missed forehands on the next two.

But perhaps the most jaw-dropping match point save came when the Australian served at 6/4 in the final-set tie-break. After missing his first serve, Kokkinakis delivered a slice second serve into the body and Hurkacz responded by deflecting the pace up the line for a return winner. The disbelief was clear on Kokkinakis’ face.

“Just felt he was going to go for another one,” Hurkacz said, recalling an earlier second-serve ace from the Australian.

Hurkacz hit an ace to save the fifth match point he faced. The Pole wasted no time closing out the gripping encounter on his first opportunity, playing stunning defence to force an error out of Kokkinakis.

“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,” Hurkacz said. “I was trying to make an effort to compete for every single ball and put some pressure.”

It was a thrilling atmosphere on Grandstand, where Kokkinakis rallied the crowd to his side and earlier saved six set points in the first-set tie-break, which he won.

There was just one service break per player, with Hurkacz hitting 21 aces and Kokkinakis 23. The previous longest best-of-three matches in 2023 lasted three hours and 26 minutes. Tommy Paul defeated Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-6(2) in the Acapulco semi-finals and Bernabe Zapata Miralles beat Roberto Carballes Baena 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5 in the Cordoba first round.

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