Sam Groth Into Australian Open Third Round

Groth emerges from five-set thriller over Kokkinakis.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Sam Groth has emerged from an all-Aussie encounter against Thanasi Kokkinakis to advance to the Australian Open third round.

A dominant fifth set saw Groth overcome the rising 18-year-old 3-6 6-3 7-5 3-6 6-1 in two hours and 53 minutes and will play in a doubles match on Thursday before facing either Bernard Tomic or German 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber on Friday in the first third round Grand Slam appearance of his career.

Groth utilised his strong service game to power home 26 aces over a visibly frustrated Kokkinakis.

“It’s always hard playing another Aussie and the crowd is definitely split, but they were great tonight and fair for both and it was probably the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in,” Groth said of the Hisense Arena crowd in an on-court interview. 

The 27-year-old utilised his strong service game, regularly breaking the 200km/h mark, to power home 26 aces over a visibly frustrated Kokkinakis.

“I didn’t feel like an underdog,” Groth said after Kokkinakis won over the nation with a passionate five-set victory against world No.13 Ernests Gulbis on Monday night. “I’m higher in the rankings and obviously he had a great win on Monday, but I feel like I’m in career best form and I’m where my ranking is for a reason. I didn’t put any pressure on myself with that, but I definitely came in feeling like this was a winnable match for me.” 

Photo: William West/Getty Images.