Steel hip, bloody knee and all, Andy Murray produced his largest victory in years.
Murray constructed an enormous lead, let it disappear fully, then wanted to avoid wasting a match level towards Matteo Berrettini — who is almost a full decade youthful and ranked greater than 50 locations larger — earlier than managing to tug out a 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (10-6) triumph in the Australian Open’s first spherical throughout greater than 4 1/2 hours on Tuesday.
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 wish to retire — and certainly was given a profession send-off at Melbourne Park in 2019 when he exited within the first spherical a 12 months after his first hip operation.
However a second surgical procedure inserted a metallic hip and Murray determined to attempt to proceed enjoying. This kind of night was seemingly what he had in thoughts when he pressed on.
And what a efficiency this was, crammed with the kind of grit that outlined a lot of Murray’s time on tour, that carried him to championships on the U.S. Open in 2012 and at Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016 and to 2 Olympic singles gold medals.
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 or racing to someway attain seemingly unreachable pictures, then shaking a fist and yelling, “Let’s go! Come on now!”
Murray raced by way 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.
They performed below a closed roof at Rod Laver Enviornment due to temperatures that soared as much as 100 levels Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) and triggered suspensions of play that lasted hours in matches on smaller courts that may’t be lined.
Murray will play the winner of Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis and Italian veteran Fabio Fognini for a spot within the third spherical.