Andy Murray wins another five-set epic, beating Thanasi Kokkinakis in wild 4 a.m. finish at the Australian Open
Andy Murray again made a huge effort at the Australian Opencoming back from two sets and a slump against home favorite Thanasi Kokkinakis in a match that lasted past 4am in Melbourne.
At five hours and 45 minutes, it was the longest game of Murray’s illustrious career, as the 35-year-old – playing with a metal hip following joint resurfacing surgery in 2019 – went on to win 4-6 6-7 7-6 6 – 3 7-5 to reach the third round.
Kokkinakis will be left to rue what could have been after serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set – “This f*****g sportsman”, he tweeted afterwards, accompanied by a sad face – but the night is all about Murray and his remarkable turnaround after four years of mostly pain and heartbreak after that surgery.
After a grueling five-setter against Matteo Berrettini in the opening round, most viewers wondered if Murray would have anything left in the tank for round two. He did – and then some.
There were times during the match, especially during that third set, when Murray looked down and out, trudging back to the baseline after each point with an exhausted expression on his face.
Not only did the Scot persevere, he rolled back the years to produce stunning tennis in what eventually became the second-longest match in Australian Open history.
One point in particular will certainly be remembered for a long time. With Kokkinakis down two sets and leading 2-0 in the third set, Murray improbably chased down five straight shots that should all have been winners before finally forcing his opponent into an error to interrupt the serve.
It ended up being arguably 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 exploits.
Murray now holds the record for most two-set down comebacks of any active player with 11 – and this one was arguably his best to date. That may sound strange considering it was only the second round of a grand slam against a player ranked 159th, but in the context of what Murray has been through in recent years, few comebacks will have felt sweeter.
When asked in his court interview how he turned the match upside down, Murray was almost at a loss for what to say.
“I mean, I don’t know… it was incredible that I could turn that around,” he said, stuttering. “Thanasi played… incredible serve, hit his forehand tremendously and I don’t know how I got through it.
“I started playing better as the game progressed and yes I have a big heart.
“Now, I’m downright the [player with] most matches come back from two sets to love down so I’ve done it before,” Murray added.
“I have experience with it and I trust 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. That is why I continued.”
Murray now plays No. 24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who also came from two sets earlier on Thursday, for a third-round place.
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.