Andy Murray wins another five-set epic, beating Thanasi Kokkinakis in a wild final at 4am at the Australian Open | CNN


Andy Murray produced another herculean effort at the Australian Open, coming back from straight sets and a break against home favorite Thanasi Kokkinakis in a match that lasted past 4am in Melbourne.

At five hours and 45 minutes, it was the longest match of Murray’s illustrious career as the 35-year-old, who was playing with a metal hip following a joint rejuvenation operation in 2019, ultimately prevailed 4-6 6 -7 7-6 6 -3 7-5 to reach the third round.

Kokkinakis will regret what could have been after serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set: “This fucking jock,” he tweeted afterwards, accompanied by a sad face, but the night. It will be all about Murray and the remarkable change in him after four years of pain and heartbreak mostly after that surgery.

After a grueling five-setter against Matteo Berrettini in the first round, most viewers wondered if Murray had anything left in his 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 and out, trudging back to the baseline after each point with a weary expression on his face.

The Scotsman not only endured, but rolled back the years to produce some impressive tennis in what ended up being the second longest match in Australian Open history.

A particular point will surely live long in the memory. With Kokkinakis up two sets and leading 2-0 in the third set, Murray improbably chased down five straight shots that should have been winners, before finally forcing his opponent into a serve-break error.

It ended up being perhaps the most crucial point of the match, one that will undoubtedly go down as an all-time classic in Australia, as Kokkinakis smashed his racket in frustration after Murray’s defensive heroics.

Murray now holds the record for the most comebacks from straight sets by all active players with 11, and this might have been his best yet. That might sound strange given that it was only the second round of a Grand Slam against a player ranked 159th in the world, but in the context Murray has been through in recent years, few comebacks will have felt sweeter.

When asked in his on-pitch interview how he turned the game around, Murray was almost speechless.

“I mean, I don’t know…it was amazing that I managed to turn that around,” he said, stammering. “Thanasi was playing…serving amazing, hitting his huge forehand and I don’t know how I managed to top it.

“I started to play better as the game went on and, yes, I have a big heart.

“Now, I am completely the [player with] most matches come back from two sets to nil, so I’ve done it before,” Murray added.

“I have experience and I trust that experience and that drive and that fight, and my love for the game and competing, and my respect for this event and the competition. That’s why I kept going.”

Murray will now play No. 24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who also came from two sets down on Thursday, for a spot in the third round.

We will have to see how much Murray has left to give in Australia, but if this tournament has taught us anything, it is never to drop him.

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