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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday January 17, 2023

Andy Murray

Andy Murray outlasted Matteo Berrettini in a 4:49 thriller on a magical night in Melbourne.

Photo Source: Getty

Andy Murray entered this year’s Australian Open carrying a streak of 156 consecutive Grand Slam matches won from two sets to love up.

By a whisker, make that 157.

Tennis Express

The British legend overcame Matteo Berrettini in a four hour and 49-minute thriller on Day 2, emerging with a 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(10-6) triumph for his first top-20 win at a Slam since 2017.

Was Murray at all aware of the fact that he had not lost from two sets down since 2005 at Wimbledon, when he lost to David Nalbandian in the third round?

Or that Berrettini, the No.13 seed, had won his last nine tiebreak sets at the Australian Open?

“I didn't know I didn't know any of these stats, which probably helped,” Murray said with a laugh on court.

What also helped is the fact that the 35-year-old played some of his best tennis in recent years, controlling the terms of the contest with Berrettini at many stages, and weathering the Italian’s purple patch in sets three and four.

“I'll be feeling this this evening and tomorrow,” Murray said, alluding to his fatigue. “But right now I'm just unbelievably happy, very proud of myself. I’ve put a lot of work into the last few months with my team, who are here, to give me the opportunity to perform on stadiums like this and in matches against players like Matteo and it paid off tonight.”

There were dicey moments to be sure. Murray dove for a volley at 6-6 in the fourth-set tiebreak and sent what would have been the shot of the tournament a few inches long. It would have given Murray a match point in the set, instead he dropped the breaker and was forced to soldier on.

In the deciding set Berrettini had all but wrapped up the victory as he stood at the net and prepared to hit a backhand into the open court with Murray hopelessly waiting, defenseless, at 4-5, 30-40.

But the 26-year-old would throw Murray a lifeline, his backhand falling meekly into the net. From there it was Murray’s time to pounce. He forced a tiebreak and reeled off the first five points of the 10-point breaker.

But he wasn’t quite over the line yet.

Berrettini got it back to 8-6, and with Murray serving he had a chance to bring the breaker back on serve. But Murray would claim the next two points, closing the contest with a bit of luck – a net cord winner that dropped to the court on Berrettini’s side ending the most thrilling match of the opening round of this year’s Australian Open.

“That's the first time I've ever played one of those 10-point tiebreakers and it's a bit different, when you're up 6-1, 7-1 it feels like you're still quite far away,” Murray said. “He came back really strong and I was just a bit lucky then with the net cord but I mean.”

Murray will face either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Fabio Fognini in the second round.

Berrettini’s streak of 12 consecutive first-round victories at the Slams ends, as he drops an opening-round encounter at a major for the first time since 2019 when he fell to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open.

It was a high quality affair, particularly in the final three sets after Berrettini raised his level, and a monumental victory for Murray, who has battled his way back onto the tour after multiple hip surgeries, all for the love of the sport.

“I think some of the tennis at the end was really good – it felt like that playing, I don't know what it looked like,” Murray said on court. “He was serving unbelievable, and he's a brilliant competitor, he is one of the best competitors on the tour. He always fights right til the end, so I did well to get through.”


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