In a game that seemed to never end, it has finally come to an end. It took Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis almost six hours to declare a winner. After a grueling match, the second longest match ever at the Australian Open, Murray stepped off court as the winner: 4-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3 and 7-5. Murray has a knack for playing long games, but after his nearly five-hour opening-round match against Matteo Berrettini, he certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be on the court for long again. Opponent Kokkinakis had it a lot easier against an Italian in the first round and won 3-0 in sets against Fabio Fognini.
Habit for Andy Murray
Where Murray almost seemed to give up a 2-0 lead in sets against Berrettini, he fought back from a 0-2 deficit against the Australian who won the doubles together with Nick Kyrgios last year. In the third set, Kokkinakis even led 5-2 and served for the win, but then Murray showed resilience as often in his career and won the tiebreak 7-5. The fourth set also went to Murray (6-3), so that the fifth and deciding set started at 03:00 am local time. In it, it seemed to fall on the side of the Scot with a 3-3 score, but the strong serving Kokkinakis cleared four break points and thus remained in the game. Even with a 5-5 score, the Australian served away two break points, but he had no answer to a winner from Murray.
Longest game ever for Murray
At 4:02 a.m. Australian time, Murray, who will soon be seen in Ahoy at the ABN Amro Open, was allowed to serve for the game. After 5 hours and 45 minutes of play, Murray, who played with a metal hip, hit his first match point. Only Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic ever played a longer match at the Australian Open, that final match lasted 5 hours and 53 minutes eleven years ago. It was Murray’s longest game ever. People who made use of their free bet offers to put them on Murray after the second set are rich now!
In the next round, the 35-year-old five-time losing finalist will face Roberto Bautista-Agut, who undoubtedly enjoyed watching his upcoming opponent struggle until almost the morning. A day off awaits them first, because the other half of the playing field – with Tallon Greek track against Stefanos Tsitsipas – will play tomorrow. “I was surprised to see that many spectators stayed until the end,” said Murray. “I have a lot of respect for those people. I think there were also people who have to go to work early again. Children who arranged the balls during the game also did not come home before five o’clock. I don’t think playing that long is great for anyone. Not even for the referees. Why are we doing this, I sometimes thought during the game. But I am happy with this win. It was a real battle that I was able to win.”