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Andy Murray produces miracle comeback to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis

Andy Murray produces miracle comeback to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis
© Reuters
Andy Murray produces a miraculous comeback from two sets and a break down to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round of the Australian Open.

Former world number one Andy Murray incredibly came back from two sets and a break down to defeat Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round of the Australian Open.

In what was the longest match of the 35-year-old's career at five hours and 45 minutes, Murray somehow prevailed 4-6 6-7[4] 7-6[5] 6-3 7-5 after completing a miraculous turnaround.

With the home crowd at the Margaret Court Arena roaring him on, Kokkinakis saved three break points in his opening service game before Murray attempted to do the same in game five, but he was broken at the third attempt.

Kokkinakis hit five aces en route to an eye-catching first-set win, and the Australian broke to love for a 5-4 lead in the second set, but Murray earned his first break of the match immediately after.

However, Kokkinakis would go two sets and a break up before one of the most phenomenal rallies the Australian Open will ever see, as Murray somehow returned several overhead shots from Kokkinakis before the Australian netted to hand Murray the break back in the third set, smashing his racquet and swearing all over the shop after giving the Brit a route back into the match.

Kokkinakis would then be broken once again while serving for the match, and the world number 159 missed another seemingly simple forehand in the tie-breaker as Murray forced a fourth set.

One break in the sixth game of the fourth set for Murray levelled the match, and as 4am ticked by in a tight fifth set, Murray broke for a 6-5 lead before sending one final backhand winner down the line in one of the most spectacular victories of his career.

Novak Djokovic reacts at the Australian Open on January 19, 2023© Reuters

The three-time Grand Slam winner will now meet Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round - an appropriate tie after the Spaniard also came from two sets down to beat Brandon Holt.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic overcame injury, a second set blip and heckling fans to beat Frenchman Enzo Couacaud 6-1 6-7[5] 6-2 6-0 and advance to the third round in three hours and four minutes.

Struggling with a hamstring injury before and during the tournament, Djokovic powered through a first set in which Couacaud needed medical attention after rolling his ankle.

The world number 191 managed to continue and produced a stellar fightback to take the second set, with Djokovic's hamstring issue flaring up as the Serbian moved gingerly across the court.

Disruptive fans donning Where's Wally? outfits soon began to get on the wrong side of Djokovic, who pleaded with the umpire to eject them, and the quartet were soon seen being led out of the arena.

However, Djokovic soon rediscovered his best form and dropped just two games in the final two sets, inflicting a bagel on Couacaud in the fourth and taking his first match point with a powerful cross-court backhand, but the 21-time Grand Slam winner admitted to Eurosport after the win that his hamstring was "not good at all".

Dan Evans in action at the Australian Open on January 17, 2023© Reuters

Elsewhere in Thursday's second-round matches, Dan Evans eased into the third round with a 6-4 6-4 6-1 win against Jeremy Chardy, taking six of his 11 chances to break on the day and setting up a challenging contest with Andrey Rublev.

There were a few notable exits in the second round, though, with men's second seed Casper Ruud losing in four sets to Jenson Brooksby, and world number 107 Michael Mmoh came from a set down to beat Alexander Zverev 6-7[1] 6-4 6-3 6-2.

American eighth seed Taylor Fritz also lost to Australia's Alexei Popyrin in a five-set classic, but Alex de Minaur, Holger Rune and Grigor Dimitrov - who faces Djokovic next - all advanced.

In the women's singles tournament, second seed Ons Jabeur's hopes of a maiden Grand Slam title came to an end in a shock three-set defeat to world number 86 Marketa Vondrousova, who beat the tearful Tunisian 6-1 5-7 6-1 in 101 minutes.

Caroline Garcia also advanced after beating Leylah Fernandez in straight sets, while Aryna Sabalenka and Belinda Bencic earned third-round berths, but 16th seed Anett Kontaveit went down 6-3 3-6 4-6 to Magda Linette.

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Andy Murray pictured at the Australian Open on January 16, 2023
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