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Roger Federer Suffers Upset by Thanasi Kokkinakis in 2018 Miami Open 2nd Round

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2018

KEY BISCAYNE, FL - MARCH 20:  Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia plays a shot against Daniel Taro of Japan during Day 2 of the Miami Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 19, 2018 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Thanasi Kokkinakis secured a spot in the 2018 Miami Open through a wild card, and he didn't waste the opportunity. 

On Saturday, Kokkinakis stunned world No. 1 Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) for a historically significant second-round win in Key Biscayne, Florida. 

According to the ATPKokkinakis—who is rated 175th in the world—became the lowest-ranked player to defeat a world No. 1 since Francisco Clavet, then No. 178, downed Lleyton Hewitt in the second round of the 2003 Miami Open. 

The New York Times' Ben Rothenberg provided more perspective: 

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

Move over, UMBC: Thanasi Kokkinakis, ranked 175th, needed a wildcard just to get into Miami qualifying. A year ago he was considering quitting the sport after years of injury woes.

Federer, meanwhile, has dropped consecutive matches for the first time since 2014 and will relinquish his No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal on April 2. 

However, it didn't always seem like that would be the case.  

The 36-year-old looked sharp early and secured a break at 3-1 in the first set to seize control of the opening frame, and he consolidated on the ensuing service game for a 4-1 lead that allowed him to close out the stanza in short order. 

During that game, Federer produced arguably the shot of the matchdespite losing the pointwhen he hit a no-look, behind-the-back return at the net that sent the South Florida crowd into a frenzy:  

Tennis TV @TennisTV

Net skills = next level! Check out this barely looking @rogerfederer shot... #MiamiOpen https://t.co/ZYtdi3pqfI

Kokkinakis, though, refused to back down. 

The 21-year-old broke the favorite at love for a 3-1 lead in the second set, and the floodgates opened as the first-serve brilliance that buoyed Federer throughout the first started to fade. 

From there, Kokkinakis wrapped up a tidy 6-3 second-set win. He then held tough and matched Federer shot for shot in the final frame to force the decisive tiebreak. 

"You go there to win. You're not going to there [saying] 'Hope I get a few games.' That's just the attitude you need," Kokkinakis told the ATP prior to the clash. "If I play well, I think I can do some good things."

And while Federer's experience could have been the difference in the tiebreak, Kokkinakis rode his serve and powerful forehand to a shocking result, as Tennis Channel documented on Twitter: 

Tennis Channel @TennisChannel

Federer is out. @TKokkinakis defeats the defending champ in a third set tiebreak. #MiamiOpen https://t.co/fASu8lwNrn

Safely through to Round 3, the Australian will now prepare for a Monday showdown with Spaniard Fernando Verdasco

As for Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam champion is headed for some time off.

According to the Times' Stuart Fraser, Federer announced after Saturday's loss that he will skip the clay-court season, including the French Open, before he tries to successfully defend his Wimbledon title. 

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