Thanasi Kokkinakis has gone down swinging to No.5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-set, second-round epic at the Australian Open.
Long overdue a change of luck on the injury front, Kokkinakis looked right at home back on centre stage as he traded blows with the 2019 Open semi-finalist before bowing out 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-4.
The Greek superstar did not drop a service game in a marathon encounter which lasted four hours and 32 minutes – the longest match of the tournament to date.
Kokkinakis was still able to make the match go the distance by stepping up in the two tiebreaks.
He also saved a match point in the 10th game of the fourth set.
Kokkinakis, 24, has battled a plethora of serious injuries in recent years, which has seen his world ranking plummet to No.267.
He also missed the 2020 Open due to glandular fever and then chose not to travel overseas to play last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But when fit, the South Australian remains a formidable foe, as he proved when beating then-world No.1 Roger Federer three years ago at the Miami Open.
That talent was on show time and again on Thursday night in a match watched by his close friend and doubles partner Nick Kyrgios.
The pair were first dubbed the Special Ks back in 2013 when they squared off in the Australian Open junior final and appeared to have the tennis world at their feet.
Before Thursday evening, the previous time Kokkinakis had played on Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open was in 2014 when he lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal at the age of 17.
Tsitsipas will take on Mikael Ymer in the third round on Saturday after the Swede ousted Spanish teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz 2-6 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-5).