Any concerns over Novak Djokovic’s left hamstring were put to rest — at least for now — as the Serb cruised past Roberto Carballes Baena in his Australian Open first round last night 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.
The 9-time champion face a 0-40 hole early but got out of it and rolled to his 22nd straight victory at the event and 35th straight in Australia.
“I really feel very happy that I’m back in Australia, back here on the court where I had the biggest success in my career,” said Djokovic. “This court is the most special court in my life, and I couldn’t ask for a better start to the tournament.
“I guess the more you win on a certain court, the more confident and comfortable you feel every next time you step on it. That’s probably one of the reasons. I’ve been fortunate to win a lot of matches on this court, particularly in the night sessions. If I had to choose one court and conditions, it would be night session on Rod Laver Arena, all night long.”
His good friend, Andy Murray, pulled off the win of the day stunning Matteo Berrettini in five sets 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(10-6) in 4 hours, 49 minutes.
Murray, who had lost three straight to the Italian, was down a match point serving 30-40, 4-5 in the fifth. But Berrettini dumped a sitter backhand pass at the net. Murray would eventually prevail for his biggest win at a Slam in over five years. The 5-time Australian Open runner-up was thrilled with the win.
“I’ll be feeling this this evening and tomorrow, but right now I’m just unbelievably happy, very proud of myself,” Murray said on court. “I’ve put a lot of work into the past few months with my team here to give me the opportunity to perform on stadiums like this and in matches like this against players like Matteo, and it paid off tonight.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever played one of those 10-point tie-breaks. It’s a bit different. When you’re up 6/1, or 7/1 or whatever, it feels like you’re still quite far away,” he added. “He came back really strong and I was just a bit lucky at the end with the net cord.”
“I think at the end some of the tennis was really good. It felt like that playing, I don’t know what it looked like,” Murray said. “He was serving unbelievable and he’s a brilliant competitor as well, one of the best competitors on the Tour. He always fights right to the end, so I did well to get through.”
It was Berrettini’s earliest loss at a Slam since the 2019 Australian Open.
Not long after the Murray win, Alexander Zverev completed his 5-set win over Juan Pablo Varilles of Peru.
A lengthy heat delay in the after and rain in the evening prevented all the matches to finish. But Andrey Rublev hammered Dominic Thiem in straights. Holger Rune, Grigor Dimitrov and No. 2 Casper Ruud were also winners. Ruud needed four tough sets to eliminate Tomas Machac.
Today, Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are back in action.
WEDNESDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena – 11:00 AM
SWIATEK, Iga (POL)  vs. OSORIO, Camila (COL)
PEGULA, Jessica (USA)  vs. SASNOVICH, Aliaksandra
Not before: 2:00 PM
NADAL, Rafael (ESP)  vs. MCDONALD, Mackenzie (USA)
RADUCANU, Emma (GBR) vs. GAUFF, Coco (USA) 
TSITSIPAS, Stefanos (GRE)  vs. HIJIKATA, Rinky (AUS)
Margaret Court Arena – 11:00 AM
SHNAIDER, Diana vs. SAKKARI, Maria (GRE) 
MOLCAN, Alex (SVK) vs. AUGER-ALIASSIME, Felix (CAN) 
KEYS, Madison (USA)  vs. WANG, Xinyu (CHN)
MILLMAN, John (AUS) vs. MEDVEDEV, Daniil 
MUCHOVA, Karolina (CZE) vs. COLLINS, Danielle (USA) 
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