Murray Outlasts Kokkinakis In Early Morning Australian Open Thriller, Djokovic Survives

by Staff | January 19th, 2023, 3:03 pm

Andy Murray turned back the clock to author yet another incredible escape last night at the Australian Open.

Murray came from two sets down for a record 11th time in stunning home favorite Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-5. The match set all kinds of records for the Scott – both his longest match at 5 hours, 45 minutes and his latest finish at 4:05am local time.

“Thanks to everyone for staying. It’s ridiculously late and you didn’t need to do that but it really helps me and Thanasi creating an amazing atmosphere,” Murray told the crowd. “Everyone including me, should all get off to bed now.”

Kokkinakis was on his way to victory hours earlier serving for the match up two sets and 5-3 before things completely unraveled. Murray and his metal hip started pushing the lankly Australian around the court, and in the big moments Kokkinakis failed to deliver.

Kokkinakis went 0-for-6 on break chances in the fourth and in the fifth was two points away from the win. Murray, though, ever resilient show the championship fight to win his second straight marathon 5-setter.

“It was unbelievable I managed to turn that around,” said Murray. “Thanasi was serving unbelievably and hitting his forehand huge. I don’t know how I managed to get through it. I did start playing better as the match went on, but yeah, I have a big heart.

“I now am outright the most wins coming from two-sets-to-love down, so I have done it before. I have experience of it. I just rely on that experience and drive. That fight and love for the game and competing and my respect for this event and the competition and that is why I kept going.”

After two very tough matches, Murray will now have to deal with Roberto Bautista Agut Saturday night. The Spaniard had to make his own comeback from two sets down to defeat qualifier Brandon Holt in five sets.

The American men, though, had another fabulous day. JJ Wolf hammer the ailing Diego Schwartzman in straight sets. Lucky loser Michael Mmoh upended the out-of-shape Alexander Zverev in four sets and in the big upset of the afternoon, Jenson Brooksby ousted world No. 2 Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2.

Ruud look off early as his shots failed to penetrate the court or Brooksby. But the young American, making his Australian debut, was just to cagey for Ruud. Ruud would fight off three match points in the third to force a fourth. But the Norwegian’s extended break bathroom break appeared to have killed his momentum. Brooksby, who looked tired after losing the third, cruised from there.

“First and foremost, Casper is a warrior,” Brooksby said. “I knew it would be great battle out there. I was pretty confident with my level and just wanted to have fun competing out there.

“I was just really proud of my mental resolve there, after the third-set battle didn’t go my way, to just turn it around.”

Ruud follows his idol Rafael Nadal out the door as the top two seeds are gone.

“It was a tough match out there,” Ruud said. “In the third I was able to come back from set points down and saved some set points in quite a way. I felt like I was working my way into the match but I had a poor start in the fourth,” said Ruud.

“Then Jenson clipped some great returns and clean return winners on my serves. Got a couple of breaks. I couldn’t recover from that, unfortunately. I gave it my all, but in the fourth set especially wasn’t enough.”

He added that he liked Brooksby’s game.

“I think it’s fun to watch him because it looks very different for many players,” he said. “It’s a tough matchup for me, and I know it’s going to be for many years probably. I will try to learn from it. I think that he played great today.”

Also in the evening, Novak Djokovic got past Enzo Couacaud of France 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0. Djokovic was dominating early but late in the second had yet another hamstring issue. Djokovic had to leave the court but returned to form in the third and fourth sets.

“There was a lot happening in tonight’s match,” Djokovic said after. “He deserves credit for the fight. He played some great tennis, especially in the second set. He deservedly pushed the match to four sets.

“We both had some medical timeouts and struggled a little bit but I managed to respond well in the third and fourth. I love playing night sessions. Let’s keep it going.”

Djokovic will now take on a very in-form Grigor Dimitrov.

Also hitting the exits was the highly touted Taylor Fritz who succumbed to Alexei Popyrin in five sets. Fritz has now lost his last three Australian Open matches in five sets.

On Friday, third round play begins with Stefanos Tsitsipas and the big Russians Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov who face Americans.

KREJCIKOVA, Barbora (CZE) [20]vs. KALININA, Anhelina (UKR)
TSITSIPAS, Stefanos (GRE) [3] vs. GRIEKSPOOR, Tallon (NED)
PERA, Bernarda (USA) vs. GAUFF, Coco (USA) [7]
7:00 PM
KEYS, Madison (USA) [10] vs. AZARENKA, Victoria [24]
KORDA, Sebastian (USA) [29] vs. MEDVEDEV, Daniil [7]

Margaret Court Arena – 11:00 AM
FUCSOVICS, Marton (HUN) vs. SINNER, Jannik (ITA) [15]
Not before: 1:00 PM
PEGULA, Jessica (USA) [3] vs. KOSTYUK, Marta (UKR)
SWIATEK, Iga (POL) [1] vs. BUCSA, Cristina (ESP)
7:00 PM
HURKACZ, Hubert (POL) [10] vs. SHAPOVALOV, Denis (CAN) [20]
ZHU, Lin (CHN) vs. SAKKARI, Maria (GRE) [6]

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Kokkinakis Captures First ATP Title, Beats Rinderknech
Djokovic Outlasts Murray in 5 in Australian Open Semifinal
Thanasi Kokkinakis Will Miss The Australian Open Due To A Shoulder Injury
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23 Comments for Murray Outlasts Kokkinakis In Early Morning Australian Open Thriller, Djokovic Survives

Madmax Says:

Andy Murray is un-frickin-believable.

Never seen anything like this. The absolute motivation which he has had in order to dig sooooo deep to win this match.

I still cannot believe it.

Wog Boy Says:

Nole will be lucky to make second week, I didn’t like what I’ve seen last night.

zed Says:

I watched the match as long as I could but it was midnight(ish) and I have work the next day so went to bed.

At that time it was two sets to love in favour of the Kokk and in the third set he was up 5 games to 3 (I think – that’s the best I can remember), as far as I could tell it was all over Red Rover.

Woke this morning to read the result and I could not believe it. It must have been incredible for those who could watch the match all the way through.

Sir Andy would be still feeling exhausted today (in fact he’s probably still sleeping) but he has earned yet another place in tennis history, people will be talking about this match for a long time to come.

zed Says:

WB, yes Nole is struggling.

The Mauritian Frenchman was not really the big test, the big tests are coming and unless the physios/doctors can do something in the next day or so then I don’t know how he’s going push his body enough.

I understand he’s taking painkillers but he’ll still be restricted in his stretches and slides and there’s no doubt that more experienced players will work out how to exploit that restriction.

If he can somehow continue and win this thing then a long rest will be required. In Feb it’s all 250’s and 500’s, Dubai being the larger prize money one in that month and that’s not until the end of Feb so he should be able to recover by then.

The US travel restrictions are still in force so he doesn’t need to feel pressure to play at Indian Wells or Miami in March, he can rest that whole month and prepare for April in Monte Carlo and/or Madrid.

Once we’re in May, Rome should give him enough match play to be ready for taking Roland Garros.

Wog Boy Says:

His body language and face expression after the match and during press conference is telling me that he knows he is done for this AO. If it is hamstring there is no way it can be fixed, if it is muscle the chances are, at best 10-15% that it’ll get better. Everything is badly compromised, from movement to serving, last night when he served he was trying to land softly on his injured leg.
He’ll probably join Rafa and prepare for clay season.

zed Says:

So you’re convinced there’s no chance?

I guess I’m still in the wishful thinking frame of mind, probably being unrealistic.

I don’t know much about Dimitrov so I can’t assess it. However if he can get past Dimitrov then he has to meet either Rublev or Rune and both would push him even if he was 100% fit, especially Rune I think.

So maybe you’re right.

Let’s say for the sake of imagination he gets past Rune as well I’m thinking the most likely player he’d meet in the Semi would be Bautista-Agut. If he had got past Rune than I think Bautista-Agut would be manageable but I’m not in the pain he’s in so what do I know?

If he was to make the final it would (in my estimation) be Medvedev, Tsitsipas or FAA that he’d meet. Probably Tsitsipas would be the easiest of the three. Medvedev would take full advantage of a wounded Novak and FAA is a fighter.

Yeah, I am now thinking you’re probably right, this AO might be a bridge too far. Maybe it will be Daniil’s second slam.

Wog Boy Says:

I think Nole is due to face De Minaur (Road Runner) in the fourth round, if he passes Dimitrov which I don’t see happening.
The winner of AO will come out of Rafa’s half, it’ll be either Medvedev or Tsitsipas, I would prefer first one, particularly because of last year final and the ugly way crowd behaved towards Medvedev.

zed Says:

Ahh you’re right, I missed De Minaur. Not wanting to sound unfair but if Novak was to get past Dimitrov I wouldn’t be too concerned about De Minaur. This assumes that De Minaur can beat Bonzi who seems to be on quite a nice run.

Dave Says:

If Djokovic can make it to the SF I think he wins it. 3rd round and QFs are the big tests to see if he can actually win with his leg. I don’t know why, but I’m less worried about the final if he makes it that far. He will take pain killers and just go for it. Plus, did you see how many forehand winners he hit last match? His extra power from the weight gain will be needed. And he hit all of these forehand winners in slow conditions against a player with insane speed around the courts.

zed Says:

Dave, I dunno. If he gets to the final and meets Medvedev?

We saw in the 2021 USO final that Medvedev on HC can take advantage of a not-fully-fit Novak.

In the USO Novak was exhausted from the Olympics and a really tough draw to the final compared to the easier path Daniil had.

On this occasion if he gets there he will have had (maybe) an easier draw but the leg balances that out. Medvedev and his team will have a plan on how to force Novak to put pressure on the leg more often. Targeting the backhand, pushing him to the corner where he’d have to stretch and press on the leg to make the backhand return.

Maybe that’s why you were seeing more forehands because maybe he’s positioning himself to avoid the backhand if he can. I dunno, just throwing around wild ideas, I don’t want to pretend any expertise in this, I’m just an armchair/remote participant.

Dave Says:

The injury happened against Medvedev near the end of the first set. And he won the next set injured. People are rating Medvedev too high. Top players are figuring him out now. Look at the recent head to heads against Tsitsipas, Rublev and Djokovic. He’s 0 and 8 combined In their recent meetings. If Korda plays the way he did against Djokovic, Medvedev won’t even be getting out of the third round. Everyone on here knows I’m not as high on Medvedevs game as some. He’s as real as it gets, which I respect. Just not into his game and I understand why players are figuring him out. It took longer than I expected to be honest. The US Open Final is by far the worst Djokovic has ever played in any Hardcourt Grandslam final. Just can’t compare that to this. He was completely spent emotionally, mentally and physically. He’s at peak motivation and is mentally as sharp as ever. Maybe you’re right about Medvedev. It’s just my opinion. Djokovic looks for weaknesses and keys in on them. Felix and Tsitsipas backhand just won’t be strong enough against Djokovic over 5 sets. Medvedev forehand and return position just won’t hold up over 5 sets or his lack of net game.

chrisford1 Says:

Not into “long rest” suggestions for ailing players. Most had nice long rests and came into Australia and the pre Open events in fresh shape. If they are getting injured, it’s from lack of heat adjustment and a preference for the holiday recreation over workouts and hard practices.

Then there is Andy. Obviously in good shape, but two tough 5 setters to start with? He can still fight, but honestly, he is not the player he once was. Hasn’t won a 500 or above event since Dubai, almost 6 years ago. Two great matches for the memory books of Murray and fans, but you don’t get in a position to win burning out in early round 5-set battles.

zed Says:


Novak has no choice other than to take the month of March off.

In March, the only two tournaments of note are in the USA (Indian Wells and Miami) and I believe the CDC still insists that international visitors be vaccinated (that is unless they simply walk across the southern border illegally as so many people are doing in which case the incumbent regime seems to be fine with it).

It won’t be until early April that he’ll play in the Rolex tournament in Monaco.

p.s. Feb is pretty much just 250’s and 500’s with Dubai the most probable for him and I think and that’s at the end of February.

skeezer Says:

Another amazing match by Murray. The star of the tournament so far!

Dave Says:

Zed. I told you. Medvedev loses in straight sets. He was outplayed from the beginning.

Okiegal Says:

Good on Andy! I’m loving his presence at the Aussie Open this year. He’s bringing us some exciting stuff. He’s always been #2 on my list of faves! Keep it going, Sir Andrew!!

Okiegal Says:

@Zed……I used to play that game when I was a young girl.
Red rover, red rover let Janis come over! Your comment made me go back in time and feel like a widdle kid again…

chrisford1 Says:

“Another amazing match by Murray. The star of the tournament so far!”

You don’t want to be the star of the 1st rounds if you had hopes of playing in the later rounds. I’m glad Murray fought and won those two matches against good opponents because he can still be a gladiator at times and show he still can summon the fight of a once-Legend. Turn back the clock, all those past injuries moments are nice for a Hall of Famer in his twilight.

zed Says:

Okiegal, that has made my day :)

I am very happy that you are happy.

p.s. Andy is causing a lot of excitement all over the place. It was a win of epic proportions. Second longest match in AusOpen history and longest match of Andy’s career. Whilst I am clearly a Novak fan I have always thought Andy is one of the nicest guys on the circuit and I wish all the best (unless he plays Novak of course and then all bets are off).

Dave, you were right. I did think hard court, AusOpen, Daniil usually performs great (final in 2021, final last year). But last night Korda was streets ahead. I was sort of hoping Daniil could take the third set and my son was watching with me, also hoping for Daniil to survive (because we both think he’s also one of the nicest guys in tennis).

Anyway, tonight we see how much Novak has recovered. I’m sure they’ve been working on the hamstring, and I believe painkillers are being used, but at this level of tennis it only takes a skerrit of constraint and your opponent will take advantage. If he doesn’t win it will be a huge disappointment. If he does somehow win the AO this year and we’re at 22/22 slams then the French is going to be epic.

Rafa will no doubt be recovered by May and Novak most certainly will. The vast majority of people will expect Rafa to take it again but I think it’s Novak’s this year.

Giles Says:

Soooo, tell me again. What part of faker’s anatomy is injured!! I would say everything is in perfect working order so far!
Hamstring problem? My arse!

Dave Says:


Watch the Medvedev press conference after the loss. It was one of the most down to earth, genuine press conferences I’ve ever seen. Honestly it was one of the best press conferences after a loss, if not the best I’ve ever seen. Brutally honest and super insightful coming from Daniel.

zed Says:

Dave, watching this one from AOTV

Giles, you’ve got a hamstring problem in your arse? Mate that sounds like it would hurt a lot :)

Incy _Wincy _ Spider Says:

Murray what a fighter
Korda a star is born
Novak nah looks fine to me
Mcdonald pftt home many times has a player took out a top player, only to flame out in the next round
Rafa get some r and r, and be ready for clay

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