Andy Murray stated he had silenced the doubters after defeating Italian thirteenth seed Matteo Berrettini in 5 gruelling units to guide a spot within the Australian Open second spherical on Tuesday.
The three-time Grand Slam champion has battled main hip and belly accidents for half a decade however declared himself freed from ache and fired up earlier than the event.
His famend grit was on full show in saving match level to topple the Italian 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (10/6) in 4hrs 49mins below a closed roof on Rod Laver Arena resulting from excessive warmth.
It was an enormous win for the 35-year-old Briton, now ranked 66, to knock out final yr’s semi-finalist.
“I feel the previous few years I’ve definitely questioned myself at occasions,” stated Murray, a five-time runner-up at Melbourne Park and former world primary.
“There’s definitely lots of people questioned me and my capacity, whether or not I might nonetheless carry out on the largest occasions and the largest matches.
“I felt very happy with myself after the match. That’s not one thing that I usually felt through the years on the finish of tennis matches.
“I feel I’m happy with the work that I put in the previous few months,” added Murray, who faces Thanasi Kokkinakis or Fabio Fognini subsequent.
“I skilled actually, actually laborious over in Florida on the brink of play right here. I’m actually happy with how I fought via that match on the finish, when it might have gotten away from me.”
It was Murray’s first victory over a top-20 participant at a Grand Slam since defeating ninth-ranked Kei Nishikori within the quarter-finals of the 2017 French Open.
Victory additionally introduced up his fiftieth Australian Open win, changing into solely the fifth man within the Open period to realize the feat alongside Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stefan Edberg.
Berrettini known as Murray — who performs with a metallic hip following career-saving surgical procedure in 2019 — a “nice champion”.
“It’s spectacular what he might do after so many surgical procedures, after all of the kilometres that he ran in his profession,” the 26-year-old stated.
“It simply exhibits how a lot he loves the sport, how a lot he loves these sorts of matches. He’s a terrific champion. I stated it so many occasions.”
– Hard work –
Coached by Ivan Lendl, who gained the Melbourne Park title in 1989 and 1990, Murray broke as soon as within the first set and twice within the second because the Italian struggled on his second serve whereas making a slew of unforced errors.
But Berrettini rallied within the third set with a break to maneuver 3-2 clear and helped by six aces took it to a fourth set.
Nothing separated them and it went to a seesawing tiebreak that the Italian gained on his third set level when Murray despatched a forehand lengthy.
Berrettini earned a match level 5-4 within the fifth set, however netted a simple half-volley to waste the chance and it once more went to a tiebreak.
An early break for Murray gave him the sting and he clung on.
Murray stated having Lendl on his crew made a giant distinction.
“He’s definitely not going to let me get away with, nicely, not working laborious,” he stated.
“He’s all the time going to push me as laborious as he can to attempt to get one of the best out of me.”