British tennis star Andy Murray defeated local favorite Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-5 in a thrilling five-set second-round encounter at the Australian Open 2023 in Margaret Court Arena on Friday.
Murray won the match in five hours and 45 minutes. This match became the longest match of the Australian Open match in the Open Era, behind only the epic final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in 2012. This is the first time Murray has reached the third round in the first major of the season since 2017.
The highlight of the match came in the third game of the third set. Murray faced a potential straight-sets loss, down two sets, and a breakdown. The 35-year-old parried several shots from his young opponent before Kokkinakis slammed into the net with a straight forehand, allowing the Scotsman to win back the break. Murray was 2-5 in the third set before starting his extraordinary comeback.
Unsurprisingly, both players showed signs of fatigue in the final set. It was the longest match of Murray's long career. But in the end, the experience paid off as Murray broke the Australian's serve on the eleventh game of the ultimate set. The crowd remained dedicated despite the late hour, and both players received standing ovations for their titanic efforts. Murray's excitement was on display after his final winning shot.
The three-time Grand Slam winner has endured a number of injuries in recent years. He plays with a metal hip following joint rejuvenation surgery in 2019. Murray will next play Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain on Satuurday. Agut came back from two sets down to defeat American wild card Brandon Holt 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.