Australian Open: Murray clinches epic victory over Kokkinakis in longest career match

By Sports Desk January 19, 2023

Andy Murray could scarcely believe he managed to fight from two sets down to topple home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis in five sets at the Australian Open.

In an epic match that began on Thursday but ticked well into the early hours of Friday in Melbourne, Murray prevailed 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 in the second-longest match in Australian Open history.

With the clock having ticked past 04:00am local time, the five-time finalist finally triumphed to become the first player in Open era history to win 10 grand slam matches having lost the opening two sets.

"I don't know. Unbelievable that I managed to turn that round," said Murray, who has reached the third round of the Australian Open for the first time since 2017.

"Thanasi was serving unbelievable. I don't know how I managed to get through it. Yeah, I have a big heart.

"I'm aware I don't look particularly happy when playing but I'm at my happiest on the inside.

"I've always loved competing and always showed my emotions when I've played. I've been criticised a lot for it over the years but that's who I am."

Finally, in a message to the fans that stuck around at Melbourne Park, Murray said: "Thanks so much to everyone for staying. It's ridiculously late. You didn't need to do that but it really helps me and Thanasi when we have all of you creating an amazing atmosphere. I think we should all get off to bed now."

Kokkinakis was in cruise control when he doubled his lead with a tie-break victory in the second set.

But he then appeared to start feeling the pressure in the third set, smashing his racquet following an angry dispute with the umpire after receiving a time violation.

Taking advantage of his opponent's loss of composure, Murray battled back from 5-2 down to force another tie-break, where Kokkinakis lost four points on his serve as the match was pushed to a fourth set.

Having been one game from defeat, the tide was turning in Murray's favour, as he teed up a decider that had looked so unlikely.

Murray spurned his first seven break points but brilliantly won his eighth attempt with the set tied at five games apiece, putting the former world number one on the verge of a stunning success.

He made no mistake as he clinched victory with a forehand winner, ending the match after five hours and 45 minutes.

Only the 2012 final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (five hours and 53 minutes) beating it in terms of longevity in the tournament's history.

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