Andy Murray produced one other Herculean effort on the Australian Openwho got here again after two units and a collapse in opposition to residence favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis in a match that lasted after 4am Melbourne.
At 5 hours and 45 minutes, it was the longest match of Murray’s illustrious profession because the 35-year-old, who performed with a metallic hip after present process joint alternative surgical procedure in 2019, ultimately settled 4-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6 prevailed -3 7-5 to succeed in the third spherical.
Kokkinakis has to rue what may have been after serving for the match at 5-4 within the third set – “That rattling jock,” he tweeted afterwards, accompanied by a tragic face – however the evening is all about Murray and his exceptional about-face after 4 years of struggling largely ache and heartbreak after this surgical procedure.
After a grueling five-setter in opposition to Matteo Berrettini within the opening spherical, most viewers questioned if Murray would have something left within the tank for spherical two. He did it – after which some.
There have been occasions throughout the recreation, significantly throughout the third set, when Murray would look down and out, trudging again to the baseline after every level with an exhausted expression on his face.
Not solely did the Scot persevere, he turned again the years to provide beautiful tennis within the second longest match in Australian Open historical past.
One level will certainly be remembered for a very long time. With Kokkinaki’s two units benefit and a 2-0 lead in set quantity three, Murray improbably chased 5 consecutive pictures, all of which ought to have gained, earlier than lastly forcing his opponent right into a fault to interrupt serve.
It was maybe the defining level of the sport, which can little doubt go down as an all-time traditional in Australia, when Kokkinakis destroyed his racquet in frustration after Murray’s defensive exploits.
Murray now holds the report for many comebacks from two units fewer by any energetic participant at 11 – and it could have been his largest but. That may sound unusual given it was solely the second spherical of a Grand Slam in opposition to a participant ranked at No. 159 on the planet, however within the context of what Murray has been by lately few comebacks can have felt sweeter.
When requested in his on-court interview how he turned the match the other way up, Murray was perplexed.
“I imply, I do not know… it was unbelievable that I used to be capable of flip that round,” he mentioned, stuttering. “Thanasi performed… served extremely, hit his forehand massively and I do not understand how I managed that.
“As the sport progressed I began to play higher and sure I’ve a giant coronary heart.
“Now that is who I’m [player with] Most video games come again to lose from straight units so I’ve accomplished that earlier than,” Murray added.
“I’ve expertise with that and I depend on that have and that drive and that combat, and my love of the sport and the competitors, and my respect for this occasion and the competitors. That is why I saved going.”
Murray will now play twenty fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, additionally two units down on Thursday, for a third-round spot.
It stays to be seen how a lot Murray nonetheless has to present in Australia but when this match has taught us something it’s by no means to write down him off.