Andy Murray announced his return to Grand Slam play in emphatic fashion, coming from two sets and a break down to deny Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-4 in 4-hours, 39-minutes.
Nishioka was in full control of Murray early on, moving the 2012 champion around the court. Nishioka led two sets and 2-0 in the third before Murray started moving better and finding the rage on the forehand.
In the fourth, the 24-year-old lefty got to match point with Murray serving 5-6, but failed to convert. With Nishioka tightening, Murray seized control of the breaker to force a decided.
Nishioka, though, jumped ahead again by a break but failed to hold and Murray stormed back for his best win in years, and his first at a Grand Slam in two years.
“That’s by far the most tennis I’ve played since 2019,” said Murray after winning his first Slam match after being down a match point.
“At the beginning of the match I was apprehensive about playing a long match because I hadn’t played one in a while.
“I was sort of pacing myself. Once I got two sets down I had to start putting the after-burners on and managed to get through,” he added.
“I need to rest up and try to recover the best I can because that’s by far the most tennis I’ve played since 2019, when I played Bautista at the Australian Open. I need to recover well.”
Murray will have a day of rest to prepare for 20-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian had his own test, going nearly four hours with unheralded Brazilian Thiago Montiero 6-3, 6-7(7), 7-6(6), 7-6(6). Auger-Aliassime break of serve in the first was the only one of the match.
Another former champion had to battle back from the brink. Marin Cilic came from two sets down to defeat Denis Kudla. Karen Khachanov also pulled a big comeback taking down 19-year-old prodigy Jannik Sinner from two sets down 3-6, 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-0, 7-6(4). The big Russian’s last three matches in Grand Slams have gone to a final set breaker.
Grigor Dimitrov rolled past Tommy Paul in his opener and Dominic Thiem benefit from the cramping Jaume Munar who called it quits down two sets to the Austrian.
“I was happy with the way I was fighting, because it wasn’t easy to play him,” said Thiem. “The courts are very different this year, the court seemed to be slow inside. It was a little bit windy, but we had some good rallies. I felt I was playing good. I played a good tie-break, which was pretty comfortable, then I’m sorry for what has happened.”
Richard Gasquet eliminated Ivo Karlovic while the hot-handed Milos Raonic lost just four points on first serve in a comfortable win over Leonardo Mayer.
Daniil Medvedev and Matteo Berrettini were late winners. Medvedev looked scary-good destroying Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Novak Djokovic returns on Wednesday to face Kyle Edmund. The Serb has won his last 27 in a row. Stefanos Tsitsipas will be on in the evening and on Armstrong, Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov will be featured.
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