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‘Proud’ Murray surprises Berrettini in five-set epic at Australian Open


Andy Murray said he quieted suspicions after defeating Italian 13th-seeded Matteo Berrettini in five tough sets to book a spot in the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

The three-time Grand Slam champion battled major hip and abdominal injuries for half a decade, but declared pain relief and was fired before the tournament.

His famous prowess was fully displayed in recording the match score to knock out the Italian team 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (10/6) in 4 hours 49 minutes. Roof of Rod Laver Arena due to extreme heat.

Eliminating last year’s semi-finalist was a big win for the 35-year-old Briton, now 66th.

“I definitely think I’ve questioned myself from time to time over the last few years,” said Murray, a five-time runner-up and former world number one at Melbourne Park.

“Certainly a lot of people questioned me and my talent if I could still perform at the biggest events and the biggest matches.

“After the game I felt very proud of myself. It’s not something I’ve felt for years, usually at the end of tennis matches.

Faced with Thanasi Kokkinakis or Fabio Fognini next, Murray said: “I think I’m proud of the work I’ve put in over the last few months.”

“I worked really, really hard to get ready to play here in Florida. At the end of that game, I’m really proud of how I fought when he could have avoided me.”

It was Murray’s first victory over a top 20 player in a Grand Slam since defeating ninth-placed Kei Nishikori in the 2017 French Open quarterfinals.

The victory also marked his 50th Australian Open win, making him only the fifth person to achieve success in the Open era alongside Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stefan Edberg.

Berrettini described Murray as a “great champion”, who played a metal hip after a career-saving surgery in 2019.

“After all the miles he’s run throughout his career, all the surgeries he’s been able to do, it’s impressive,” the 26-year-old said.

“It just shows how much you love the game, how much you love this kind of game. He’s a great champion. I’ve said that many times.”

– Hard work –

Coached by Ivan Lendl, who won the Melbourne Park championship in 1989 and 1990, Murray broke through once in the first set and twice in the second set as the Italian struggled to make a bunch of unnecessary mistakes on his second serve.

However, Berrettini, who gathered in the third set and took the lead 3-2, advanced to the fourth set with the help of six aces.

Nothing separated them and the seesaw went to tiebreaks when Murray sent a long forehand at the Italian player’s third set point.

Berrettini won 5-4 match points in the fifth set, but wasted the opportunity by netting an easy half volley and went to the tiebreaks again.

An early break for Murray gave him the advantage and he held on.

Murray said having Lendl on his team made a huge difference.

“He’s definitely not going to let me escape, I mean, I’m not working hard,” he said.

“He will always push me as hard as he can to try to get the best out of me.”

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