Andy Murray wins one other five-set epic, beating Thanasi Kokkinakis in wild 4 a.m. end on the Australian Open

Andy Murray wins one other five-set epic, beating Thanasi Kokkinakis in wild 4 a.m. end on the Australian Open

Andy Murray produced one more Herculean effort on the Australian Open, getting back from two units and a break down in opposition to house favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis in a match that went on previous 4 a.m. in Melbourne.

At 5 hours and 45 minutes, it was the longest match of Murray’s illustrious profession, because the 35-year-old – taking part in with a steel hip following a joint resurfacing operation in 2019 – ultimately prevailed 4-6 6-7 7-6 6-3 7-5 to achieve the third spherical.

Kokkinakis will probably be left to rue what might need been after serving for the match at 5-4 within the third set – “This f*****g sport man,” he tweeted afterward, accompanied by a tragic face – however the evening will probably be all about Murray and his outstanding turnaround after 4 years of principally ache and heartbreak following that surgical procedure.

After a grueling five-setter in opposition to Matteo Berrettini within the opening spherical, most viewers puzzled whether or not Murray would have something left within the tank for spherical two. He did – after which some.

There have been occasions in the course of the match, particularly throughout that third set, when Murray appeared down and out, trudging again to the baseline after each level with an exhausted expression on his face.

Not solely did the Scot grasp in there, he rolled again the years to provide some beautiful tennis in what ended up being the second-longest match in Australian Open historical past.

One level particularly will definitely dwell lengthy within the reminiscence. With Kokkinakis two units up and main 2-0 within the third set, Murray improbably chased down 5 successive pictures that every one ought to have been winners, earlier than ultimately forcing his opponent right into a mistake to interrupt serve.

It ended up being maybe essentially the most essential level of the match, one that can little question go down as an all-time traditional in Australia, as Kokkinakis destroyed his racket in frustration following Murray’s defensive heroics.

Murray now holds the document for many comebacks from two units down of all energetic gamers with 11 – and this one might need been his best but. That maybe sounds unusual given it was simply the second spherical of a grand slam in opposition to a participant ranked 159th on the earth, however within the context of what Murray has been by means of lately, few comebacks could have felt sweeter.

When requested in his on-court interview how he had turned the match on its head, Murray was nearly perplexed.

“I imply, I don’t know … it was unbelievable that I managed to show that round,” he stated with a stutter. “Thanasi was taking part in … serving unbelievable, hitting his forehand large and I don’t know the way I managed to get by means of it.

“I did begin taking part in higher because the match went on and, yeah, I’ve an enormous coronary heart.

“Now, I’m outright the [player with] most matches getting back from two units to like down, so I’ve accomplished it earlier than,” Murray added.

I’ve expertise of it and I depend on that have and that drive and that battle, and my love of the sport and competing, and my respect for this occasion and the competitors. That’s why I saved going.”

Murray will now play the No. 24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who additionally got here from two units down earlier on Thursday, for a spot within the third spherical.

It stays to be seen simply how a lot Murray has left to present in Australia, but when this event has taught us something, it’s to by no means write him off.

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