Andy Murray fights into the night to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Australian Open

Andy Murray served deep into the night to create yet another outstanding win at the Australian Open.

Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis served to win the third set of their rowdy, partisan second-round match at Margaret Court Arena 5-3, and only Murray showed once again that his greatest asset is his stubborn refusal to lose.

After struggling for nearly five hours to beat Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday for his best finish since 2017, the 35-year-old forced a decisive set and eventually 4-6 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) 6 prevailed. -3 7-5 at 4.05.

At five hours and 45 minutes, it was the longest game of Murray’s entire career and the third-last finish of a tennis match ever.

It was an all-in-one competition, at least the quality of the rallies didn’t diminish somewhat as the clock ticked.

Both men were dissatisfied with the time violation by referee Eva Asderaki-Moore, with 102 winner Kokkinakis also receiving a warning for smashing his racket in the third set after a ridiculous spot where Murray took three hits.

The majority of fans pushed it all the way, but Murray cursed Asderaki-Moore for the late hour, calling it “disrespectful” and the increasing number of finishes after midnight will certainly focus attention on the tennis schedule.

Having spent more than 10 hours on the court, Murray now has to somehow recover for his third-round encounter with Roberto Bautista Agut, whom he lost in 2019 when his career seemed to be over.

World number 159 Kokkinakis, who won the Australian Open doubles title with close friend Nick Kyrgios last year, was bidding to become the lowest-ranked player to beat Murray in a grand slam, despite being far superior to the level he played here. that number

The match didn’t start until 10 pm and the atmosphere was delicious from the start – if there’s one name to inspire the cheers of an Australian crowd, it’s definitely Kokkinakis.

The 26-year-old has dealt with more than his fair share of injury problems, just like his rival, but he showed it before he rose to great status by bragging about his wins against Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Thanasi Kokkinakis broke his racket in the third set.

Thanasi Kokkinakis broke his racket in the third set (Ng Han Guan/AP)

Kokkinakis got off to a tense start but Murray failed to take any of the three time-outs in game two and from there the Australian began dictating with his big serve and forehand.

He broke serve and took a 3-2 lead, continued to take the first set and then looked completely in control when he took a 5-4 lead in the second set.

In that match, Murray received a time violation for taking his serve too long, which led to complaints from Scot about the effect of the crowd noise.

He typically bounced back to the set bravely and saved three sets of points in the next game, but at the tie-break he quickly stepped back and failed to recover.

Andy Murray leans against his racket after losing a point

Andy Murray leans against his racket after losing one point (Ng Han Guan/AP)

The 35-year-old drew a frustrated figure throughout the third set and at the beginning of the third set appeared to be cursing the vacant seat temporarily vacated by coach Ivan Lendl.

Murray’s defenses helped him back down after serving, with Kokkinakis making a profanity-laden rant for a time violation at Asderaki-Moore, then responding by knocking his racket down in disgust at Murray’s incredible take-back skills.

Still, the Scots were unable to take the lead and Kokkinakis broke again, providing a chance to serve the match.

But – as in the second set – Kokkinakis tightened up a bit at a crucial moment, and Murray seized the opportunity before clinching the tie-break when his opponent smashed a terrifying shot into the open field.

It had been his only Achilles heel all night, and it finally gave Murray something to work on.

He started controlling most of the key rallies and finally broke 4-2 in the fourth set and clinched an ace at 3am after recovering two breakouts.

Kokkinakis’ serve kept him in the decision making, including a 3-3 recovery from 0-40, but at 5-5 Murray finally found a way and served one of the most memorable victories of his life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *