American Michael Mmoh fears he may wake up and realise his run to the Australian Open third round was a dream.
After failing in qualifying and having “zero” chance of participating in the first round, the 25-year-old American was watching an NFL game in his hotel and ready to fly home two days earlier.
However, injuries to other players gave the world’s 109th-ranked player a late call-up, and on Thursday he defeated Germany’s 12th seed Alexander Zverev after defeating French qualifier Laurent Lokoli.
I don’t know if I’ll wake up. “It doesn’t feel real,” Mmoh told reporters.
“The past 48 hours have been a whirlwind from being ready to leave home, arranging a trip, and packing my stuff. Yesterday was my departure. I’m here after my best win. It’s unreal.”
“I was chatting to my fiancee, you know, she was like, why don’t you fly out tonight?” Mmoh said of his good fortune.
I watched Bucs-Cowboys. That game consumed me.
“Suddenly the ATP guy called. I never answered a call so quickly. First ring, I answered. He said, “You’re next on court 13.”
Mmoh may have been satisfied after gathering his uniform and racing to Melbourne Park for his match versus Lokoli. He maximised it.
He defeated former world number two Zverev 6-7(1) 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the third round against fellow American J.J. Wolf.
“I don’t think I’ll ever say I’m unfortunate for the rest of my life,” Mmoh added.
Eight Americans are in the final 32 in Melbourne, including Jenson Brooksby, who defeated second seed Casper Ruud on Thursday.
He added his pre-Zverev conversation with compatriot Frances Tiafoe gave him confidence.
“He said, ‘You’ll win this match. Will you take advantage? I wanted to do it when I got there.”
Mmoh’s unexpected run in Melbourne would delay his reunion with his fiancee, whom he proposed to before leaving for Australia.
“We’ve got to enjoy that moment together when we’re back, along with the engagement,” he remarked.