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Australian Open day two: Murray claims remarkable win, Djokovic progresses

Australian Open day two: Murray claims remarkable win, Djokovic progresses
© Reuters
Andy Murray records a sensational five-set win over Matteo Berrettini while Novak Djokovic progresses to the second round on day two of the Australian Open.

Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray rolled back the years to defeat Matteo Berrettini in five sets on day two of the Australian Open, while Novak Djokovic also progressed to round two.

Former world number one Murray saved a match point and prevailed 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-7[7] 7-6[6] versus the Italian 13th seed in four hours and 49 minutes.

After taking the first three games of the match and breaking early in the second, Murray crucially missed two early chances to break early in the third as Berrettini threatened an astonishing comeback.

Neither man would give much away on serve from the fourth set onwards, where Berrettini forced a deciding fifth set and worked Murray across the court, but the 35-year-old stood firm and was counting his lucky stars when Berrettini inexplicably hit a close-range backhand into the net on match point.

A 10-point tie-breaker would be required to separate the pair, where Murray stormed into a 5-0 lead, although Berrettini managed to reduce the deficit to 6-8 to give himself a glimmer of hope.

Novak Djokovic in action at the Australian Open on January 17, 2023© Reuters

However, Murray subsequently brought up a match point and witnessed the ball trickle onto Berrettini's side thanks to the net cord, keeping his celebrations to a minimum as he set up a second-round tie with Thanasi Kokkinakis or Fabio Fognini, whose match was suspended due to rain.

"I'll be feeling this tomorrow, but right now I'm unbelievably happy, very proud of myself. I've put a lot of work into the last few months with my team," Murray said on the court.

After learning that he had ended Berrettini's run of nine successive victories in tie-breakers, Murray added: "I didn't know any of these stats which probably helped! I got a bit lucky at the end with the net cord but I think some of the tennis we played at the end was really good. He always fights until the end."

At the end of the day, men's fourth seed and nine-time winner Djokovic marked his return to Melbourne with a straight-sets win over world number 75 Roberto Carballes Baena, who did not do much wrong in the first two sets but was powerless against the ruthless Serbian.

Djokovic, who is vying to equal Rafael Nadal's record of 22 Grand Slam wins, posted a third-set bagel to record a 6-3 6-4 6-0 win in just over two hours in front of a buoyant Rod Laver Arena crowd.

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

The 35-year-old brought up three match points and needed just the one to seal his place in round two, with Carballes Baena returning Djokovic's well-placed second serve into the net.

Elsewhere on a heat and rain-affected day in Melbourne, British number two Dan Evans joined Murray in the second round after beating Facundo Bagnis 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-4.

Home favourite Alex de Minaur also made it through to the second round of the men's singles, as did Alexander Zverev, Holger Rune and Andrey Rublev, who beat Dominic Thiem in straight sets.

Women's second seed Ons Jabeur was taken to three sets in her first-round battle with Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek, but the Tunisian ultimately prevailed 7-6[8] 4-6 6-1 to progress.

Jabeur has been joined in the second round by the likes of Aryna Sabalenka, Belinda Bencic and Leylah Fernandez, who marched to a 7-6 5-2 win over France's Alize Cornet.

> Click here for a roundup of day one's action at the Australian Open

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Dan Evans pictured at the Italian Open on May 9, 2022
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