Michael Mmoh: American in dreamland after lucky break at Australian Open



American Michael Mmoh fears waking up and realizes his run-up to the third round of the Australian Open was just a dream.

A few days ago, the 25-year-old American watched an NFL game on TV at his hotel and was ready to head to the airport after losing in qualifying and saying he had a “zero” chance of getting into the game. to play the first round.

But fate intervened and injuries to other players saw the world’s 109th ranked player receive a late call-up and on Thursday he followed up a victory against French qualifier Laurent Lokoli by knocking out Germany’s 12th-ranked Alexander Zverev.

“I don’t know if I’m finally going to wake up or something. It just doesn’t seem real,” Mmoh, who has never surpassed the second round at a Grand Slam before, told reporters.

“The past 48 hours have been a complete whirlwind of getting ready to go back home, booking a flight, packing my bags. I was supposed to leave yesterday.

“Now I’m here, and I’ve just had the best win of my career. It just doesn’t seem real.”

When asked how events turned out in his favour, Mmoh explained, “I was talking to my fiancé, you know, she was like, why don’t you fly tonight?”

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

“Then I suddenly got a call from the ATP man. I have never answered a phone call so quickly in my life. The first ring, and I was there. He was like, yeah, you’re next on lane 13.

After collecting his equipment and racing to Melbourne Park for his match against Lokoli, Mmoh may have been content with his fortunes. Instead, he milked it to the max.

He lost the first set against former world number two Zverev on a tiebreak, but struck back to win 6-7(1) 6-4 6-3 6-2 to set up a third round against compatriot JJ Wolf.

“I don’t think I’ll spend the rest of my life saying I’m an unhappy person,” said Mmoh.

Mmoh is part of an American men’s squad in Melbourne with eight of them through 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 led him to faith.

“He told me you can 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 in Melbourne means that Mmoh will have to wait a bit longer to be with his fiancée, who he proposed shortly before leaving for Australia.

“We should definitely celebrate that moment together when we get back, along with the engagement,” he said.

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