January 17, 2023
Andy Murray prevailed in one of his greatest matches at the Australian Open.
Four hours and forty-nine minutes of pulsating action ended when Murray’s winning shot dribbled unanswerably over the net.
Who could say he didn’t deserve that piece of good fortune after leading the decisive tie-break 6-1 and 8-3, before gutsy Italian Matteo Berrettini stormed back once more?
The former Wimbledon finalist had been staging comebacks all evening, fighting his way into contention from two sets behind after Andy squandered break points to go 3-1 ahead in the third.
No spectators were sorry to see this classic prolonged. The tennis was sensational and Murray appears to be back to his super-fit best at last.
He emerged victorious 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (10-6) – and knew he had done something special.
Andy Murray must now believe he can achieve anything he wants at Wimbledon 2023.
He needed the rub of the green after failing to close out early. But that’s top-level sport. The margins are so fine.
Just when most people thought he had thrown it all away, Murray somehow survived a match point that looked impossible to miss. There were gasps of shock and horror when Berrettini netted an easy backhand with the open court begging.
From that moment, Andy refused to be beaten. He was drained and close to tears as he savoured the post-match scenes. He knows there will be a physical price to pay at the age of 35.
Murray won’t care. Just as he was indifferent to a reminder that he had gone eighteen years without being beaten from two sets up in any match.
He knew he was exhausted though: ‘I’ll be feeling it this evening and tomorrow. But I’m unbelievably happy and proud of myself.’
It wasn’t by accident that a new version of the super-resilient Andy Murray has stepped out onto a Grand Slam stage. He explained: ‘I’ve put a lot of work into these the last few months with my team, to be able to perform in stadiums like this, in matches like this and against players like Matteo Berrettini. It paid off tonight.’
Wimbledon 2023 can’t wait to welcome this brilliantly revitalised Andy Murray!
To beat Berrettini, who had won his previous nine tie-breaks at the Australian Open, was quite something. ‘I didn’t know any of these stats, which probably helped,’ observed a typically amusing Murray afterwards.
‘First time I’d ever played these ten-point breakers and it’s a bit different. I was a bit lucky with the net cord at the end. But it felt like we were playing good tennis.’
Andy knows the enormity of this victory against the thirteenth seed. ‘He was serving unbelievably and he is one of the best competitors on the tour. I had a couple of break points early in the third set, didn’t get them and momentum changed.’
Somehow, against all the odds, Murray turned the tide once more and now he plays either home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis or the volatile Italian, Fabio Fognini.
Meanwhile Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie are also through on a great day for the Brits.