Australian Open: Murray scores epic win over Kokkinakis in longest match of career
In an epic match that started on Thursday but continued into the early hours of Friday January 20 in Melbourne, Murray won 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 passing 04:00 local time, the five-time finalist finally triumphed to become the first player in Open-era history to win 10 Grand Slam matches after losing the opening two sets.
“I don’t know. Amazing that I managed to turn things around,” said Murray, who reached the third round of the Australian Open for the first time since 2017.
“Thanasi was serving amazingly. I don’t know how I managed to get out of it. Yeah, I have a big heart.
“I’m aware that I don’t look particularly happy playing, but I’m the happiest inside.
“I’ve always loved competition and always showed my emotions when I played. I’ve been criticized a lot for that over the years, but that’s who I am.”
Finally, in a message to the fans who stayed at Melbourne Park, Murray said: “Thank you all so much for staying. It’s ridiculously late. You didn’t need to but it really helps me, me and Thanasi when we all have you creating an amazing atmosphere I think we should all go to bed now.
Kokkinakis was on cruise control when he doubled his lead with a tiebreak victory in the second set.
But then he seemed to start to feel the pressure in the third set, smashing his racket following an angry argument with the referee after being awarded a time violation.
Taking advantage of his opponent’s loss of composure, Murray fought back from 5-2 up to force another tie-break, where Kokkinakis lost four points on his serve as the match was pushed to a fourth set.
With one game to go, the tide was turning in Murray’s favor as he picked out a decider who had seemed so unlikely.
Murray fended off 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 stunning success.
He made no mistake in claiming 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) beat him in terms of longevity in tournament history.
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