Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
ABC News
ABC News

Rinky Hijikata sends Melbourne Park into a frenzy with epic five-set Australian Open victory

Local wildcard Rinky Hijikata has repaid the faith shown in him by Australian Open organisers with a remarkable come-from-behind win at Melbourne Park.

Making his debut in the Australian Open men's draw, 21-year-old Hijikata fought back from two sets down against German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann to triumph 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

It took Hijikata four hours and 25 minutes to wear down 128th-ranked Hanfmann, but his efforts in winning his first singles match at a major were recognised by the vocal court-eight crowd, who gave the young Australian a standing ovation.

Hijikata will next face world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas, a three-time semifinalist in Melbourne.

"I couldn't have done it without the support today. I'm so grateful for everyone coming out," Hijikata said in his on-court interview.

"That is the most fun match I've ever played in my life."

Hijikata made a name for himself at last year's US Open when he took a set of Rafael Nadal in the first round.

He relished the crowd support on Monday night, consistently revving them up as he manufactured a comeback.

Hijikata, ranked 169 in the world, spurned his first two match points on serve but sealed his third, before falling to the ground and then punching the air as he celebrated.

He joined two other Australians, Jason Kubler and John Millman, in progressing to the second round of the men's draw.

Kubler beat Argentine Sebastian Baez 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to continue his incredible resurgence, while Millman outlasted Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-7 (8/10), 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-3 on the same day countryman Nick Kyrgios was forced out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Just like Hijikata, Millman cashed in on his Melbourne Park wildcard, delivering a typical five-set marathon victory in four hours and six minutes.

It is the sixth time Millman has reached the second round at his home major.

In the women's draw, Olivia Gadecki made the second round but fellow Australians Talia Gibson and Storm Hunter both made early exits.

Gibson bowed out with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to French qualifier Clara Burel and Hunter lost 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 to China's Xinyu Wang.


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.