Andy Murray wins another epic in five sets, beating Thanasi Kokkinakis at 4am at Australian Open
Andy Murray produced another Herculean effort at the Australian Open, coming back from two sets and a breakdown against local favorite Thanasi Kokkinakis in a match that came after 4am in Melbourne.
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 joint resurfacing surgery in 2019 – eventually prevailed 4-6 6-7 7-6 6 -3 7-5 to reach the third round.
Kokkinakis will have to regret what might have been after serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set – ‘That fucking sportsman,’ he tweeted afterwards, accompanied by a sad face – but the night will be all about Murray and his remarkable turnaround after four years of pain and grief following this surgery.
After a grueling five sets against Matteo Berrettini in the first round, most viewers wondered if Murray would have anything left in the tank for the second round. He did – and more.
There were times during the match, especially during that third set, when Murray looked down, trudging back to the baseline after each point with a weary expression on his face.
Not only did the Scot hang on, he rolled back the years to produce stunning tennis in what ended up being the second longest match in Australian Open history.
One point in particular will certainly be remembered for a long time. With Kokkinakis in straight sets and leading 2-0 in the third set, Murray improbably chased down five successive shots that should all have been winners, before finally forcing his opponent into a mistake to break serve.
It ended up being perhaps the most crucial point of the game, one that will no doubt go down as an all-time classic in Australia, as Kokkinakis destroyed his racket in frustration after Murray’s defensive heroism.
Murray now holds the record for most comebacks after two sets of any active player with 11 – and this one might have been his best yet. It may seem odd considering it was only the second round of a grand slam against a player ranked 159th in the world, but in the context of what Murray has been through in recent years, few comebacks will have been more pleasant.
When asked during his on-court interview how he turned the game around, Murray was almost at a loss for words.
“I mean, I don’t know…it was amazing that I was able to turn things around,” he stutters. “Thanasi was playing…serving amazing, hitting his huge forehand and I don’t know how I managed to get away with it.
“I started to play better as the game went on and, yes, I have a big heart.
“Now I’m downright the [player with] most matches come back two sets to love, so I’ve done that before,” Murray added.
“I have the experience and I rely on that experience, that drive and that fight, and my love of the game and the competition, and my respect for this event and the competition. That’s why I kept going. »
Murray will now face No. 24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who also came from two sets earlier on Thursday, for a place in the third round.
It remains to be seen how much Murray still has to give in Australia, but if this tournament has taught us anything, it’s to never dismiss him.