Michael Mmoh: American in dreamland after Australian Open fluke


American Michael Mmoh is scared to wake up and realize his Australian Open third-round run was just a dream.

A few days ago, the 25-year-old American was watching an NFL game on TV in his hotel and preparing to drive to the airport after losing in qualifying and having what he considered ‘zero’ chance to play in the first round.

But fate intervened and injuries to other players meant the world’s No. 109 was called up late and on Thursday he chained a victory over French qualifier Laurent Lokoli by knocking out Germany’s 12th seed Alexander Zverev.

“I don’t know if I’ll finally wake up or something. It just doesn’t seem real,” Mmoh, who has never made it past the second round of a Grand Slam, told reporters.

“The last 48 hours have been a complete whirlwind between being ready to go home, booking a flight, packing my bags. I was supposed to leave yesterday.

“Now I’m here and I just got the best victory of my career. It just doesn’t seem real.

When asked how events worked out in her favor, Mmoh explained, “I was talking to my fiancée, you know, she was like, why don’t you fly away tonight?

“I was watching the Bucs and the Cowboys. I was completely locked into that game.

“Then all of a sudden I got a call from the ATP guy. I’ve never answered a call so fast in my life. First ring, and I was on it. He was, like, yeah, you’re next on court 13.”

After gathering his gear and running to Melbourne Park for his match against Lokoli, Mmoh could have been content with his fortune. Instead, he exploited it to the fullest.

He lost the opening set to former world number two Zverev on a tiebreaker but fought back to win 6-7(1) 6-4 6-3 6-2, setting up a third-round clash against his fellow American JJ Wolf.

“I don’t think I’m ever going to say I’m an unlucky person for the rest of my life,” Mmoh said.

Mmoh is part of an American men’s charge in Melbourne with eight of them down to the last 32, including Jenson Brooksby who knocked out second seed Casper Ruud on Thursday.

He said a conversation with compatriot Frances Tiafoe before his clash with Zverev gave him confidence.

“He said to me, like, you’re going to be able to win this game. It’s just, are you going to seize the moment?

“I wanted to make sure I did that once I got into that position.”

His unexpected run to Melbourne means Mmoh will have to wait a bit longer to be with his fiancee, who he proposed to shortly before leaving for Australia.

“We definitely have to celebrate this moment together when we get back together, as well as the engagement,” he said.


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