Metallic hip, bloody knee and all, Andy Murray produced his greatest victory in years. Murray constructed an enormous lead, let it disappear utterly, then wanted to avoid wasting a match level towards Matteo Berrettini — who is sort of a full decade youthful and ranked greater than 50 locations larger — earlier than managing to drag out a 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (10-6) triumph throughout greater than 4 1/2 hours on Tuesday (January 17) within the Australian Open 2023 first spherical.
This was three-time main champion Murray’s first defeat of a top-20 opponent at a Grand Slam match since 2017. That was earlier than Murray thought he would want to retire — and certainly was given a profession send-off at Melbourne Park in 2019, when he exited within the first spherical a yr after his first hip operation.
WATCH Andy Murray stun Matteo Berrettini in first spherical right here…
After almost 5 epic hours @andy_murray has executed it!@wwos _ @espn _ @eurosport _ @wowowtennis _ #AusOpen _ #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/00FgZbPb5g
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2023
After a second surgical procedure inserted a steel hip, Murray determined to attempt to proceed enjoying. This type of night was doubtless what he had in thoughts when he pressed on. And what a efficiency it was, crammed with the type of grit that outlined a lot of Murray’s time on tour, that carried him to championships on the US Open in 2012 and at Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016 and to 2 Olympic singles gold medals.
He’s additionally a five-time runner-up at Melbourne Park, with 4 losses within the closing to Novak Djokovic and one to Roger Federer. Murray completed 2016 ranked No. 1, however the Scotsman is now 35 years previous and ranked No. 66.
Nonetheless, there have been moments Tuesday when Murray performed as he did a very long time in the past, diving to hit a volley earlier than slamming to the blue courtroom — scraping his proper knee — or racing to in some way attain seemingly unreachable photographs, then wanting up into the stands at his coach, Ivan Lendl, and shaking a fist whereas yelling, “Let’s go! Come on now!”
Murray raced by means of the primary two units in lower than 1 1/2 hours earlier than the big-hitting, big-serving Berrettini turned issues round and took the match to a fifth, even coming inside one level of victory at 5-4 in that set however faltering and flubbing a straightforward backhand.
By beating the Thirteenth-seeded Berrettini, who was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2021, Murray turned solely the fifth man within the Open period with 50 match wins on the Australian Open, becoming a member of Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Stefan Edberg.
They performed beneath a closed roof at Rod Laver Enviornment due to temperatures that soared as much as 100 levels Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) and induced suspensions of play that lasted hours in matches on smaller courts that may’t be lined.
This was the most-anticipated match of the afternoon session and lasted so lengthy it completed within the night, most positively residing as much as the hype. It was troublesome to think about that the evening session matches scheduled to comply with in Laver — involving the No. 2-seeded girl, Ons Jabeur, after which nine-time champion Djokovic’s return to the Australian Open after he was deported from the nation a yr in the past for not being vaccinated towards COVID-19 — may presumably match the depth and drama that Murray and Berrettini delivered.
Murray improved to 27-13 in five-setters over his profession; Berrettini dropped to 7-2, with each losses in Australia. And make no mistake: Murray was much better in that decisive part of the match, leaping out to leads of 5-0 and 8-3. It resulted in a little bit of anticlimactic style: Murray’s service return clipped the web twine and trickled over for a winner.
Murray subsequent will meet Thanasi Kokkinakis or Fabio Fognini. Different males advancing Tuesday included No. 5 Andrey Rublev, No. 8 Taylor Fritz, No. 9 Holger Rune and No. 27 Grigor Dimitrov, whereas winners within the ladies’s area included No. 4 Caroline Garcia, No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka and No. 16 Anett Kontaveit.
However Garbine Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam champion and the runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2020, misplaced her fifth consecutive match to begin the yr, eradicated 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-1 by Elise Mertens.
(with PTI inputs)