Andy Murray wins another five-set epic, beating Thanasi Kokkinakis in wild 4 a.m. finish at the Australian Open
At five hours and 45 minutes, it was the longest match of Murray’s illustrious career, as the 35-year-old – playing with a metal hip after a joint resurfacing operation in 2019 – eventually won 4-6 6-7 7-6 6. won with -3 7-5 to reach the third round.
Kokkinakis would be left to rue what might have been after serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set – “This f****g sport man,” he later grimaced. tweeted – but the night will be all about Murray and his remarkable transformation after four years of mostly pain and heartbreak since that surgery.
After a tough five-setter against Matteo Berretini in the opening round, most viewers wondered if Murray would have anything left in the tank for the second round. He did – and then some.
There were times during the match, particularly during the third set, when Murray looked down, returning to the baseline after each point with an expression of exhaustion on his face.
Not only did the Scot hang in there, he overcame the years to produce some incredible tennis, which became the second longest match in Australian Open history.
One point in particular will live long in the memory. With Kokkinakis up two sets and leading 2-0 in the third set, Murray improbably chased down five consecutive shots that should have all been winners, before finally forcing his opponent into a break of serve. .
It ended up being perhaps the most important point of the match, one that will undoubtedly go down as an all-time classic in Australia, as Kokkinakis destroyed his racket in frustration after Murray’s defensive heroics.
Murray now holds the record for most comebacks from two sets by any active player with 11 – and may be his greatest ever. It may seem strange given that it was only the second round of a Grand Slam against the world number 159, but in the context of what Murray has done in recent years, some return would feel sweet.
When asked in his on-court interview how he turned the match on its head, Murray was almost at a loss for words.
“I mean, I don’t know… it was unbelievable that I managed to turn it around,” he stammered. “Thansi was playing … serving unbelievable, hitting his forehand big and I don’t know how I got through it.
“I started playing better as the match went on and yes, my heart is bigger.
“Now, I’m right [player with] Most matches come from two sets back to love, so I’ve done that before,” added Murray.
“I have experience with it and I rely on that experience and that drive and that fight, and my love for the game and the competition, and my respect for this event and the competition. So I kept going.”
Murray will now play 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who came from two sets down earlier on Thursday, for a place in the third round.
It remains to be seen how much Murray has left to give in Australia, but if this tournament has taught us anything, it’s to never write him off.