Murray wins Australian Open five-set epic after heat stops play. On a humid day when play was halted for three hours on most courts, Andy Murray turned back the clock to overcome 13th seed Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
On day two, however, there was controversy off the court since Russian and Belarusian flags were forbidden at Melbourne Park.
Following his suspension and expulsion last year, Novak Djokovic is scheduled to play in the Grand Slam later on Tuesday.
However, the 35-year-old Murray appeared to had the day in the bag as the British player saved match point to upset Italy’s Berrettini 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (10/6) in 4 hours and 49 minutes on Rod Laver Arena with the roof closed owing to the high heat.
The former world number one, who plays with a metal hip following career-saving surgery, said, “I will be feeling this this evening and tomorrow.”
“However, I’m quite thrilled and proud of myself right now.
“I’ve worked really hard with my team over the last several months to give me this chance to perform in arenas like this, in games like this, and against guys like Matteo — and it paid off today,” the athlete said.
The three-time major champion said, “I played well to go through. I play either Fabio Fognini or Thanasi Kokkinakis in round two.
In the men’s draw, Andrey Rublev, ranked fifth, defeated Dominic Thiem, the event finalist for 2020, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
As he started his comeback from a wrist injury that kept him off the court for nine months over the 2021 and 2022 seasons, former US Open champion Thiem was outplayed.
On outdoor courts, play had to be stopped as the temperature climbed. The three major stadiums—Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena, and John Cain Arena—had their roofs shut.
About three hours later, play began on the outside courts once more.
The men’s seeds, like those in the women’s draw, were mostly unaffected.
Dan Evans of the United Kingdom, Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, and Diego Schwartzman of Argentina all advanced to round two.
Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia was beaten by eighth-seeded Taylor Fritz of the United States 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
Due to his views on Covid vaccinations, Serbia’s Djokovic was deported on the eve of the Australian Open in 2017.
However, the 35-year-old will be in action when he takes on Spanish opponent Roberto Carballes Baena in his first round and is expected to receive a rousing ovation from the Rod Laver Arena fans.
In order to tie current winner Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slam victories for men, he must win the Australian Open for a record-extending 10th time.
– Belarusian and Russian flags were prohibited by Tennis Australia following a protest from the Ukrainian embassy to Australia.
At least two games on Monday featured the Russian flag’s tricolor, prompting Ukrainian supporters to allegedly summon security and law enforcement.
Tennis Australia declared that “the suspension is effective right away.”
Russian and Belarusian athletes typically participate under a neutral flag as independents, as is the situation in the Australian Open, ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The “unacceptable politicization of sports” was how Moscow described the ban.
“Stay calm” – Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka, the fourth and fifth seeds in the women’s draw, advanced straight to the second round.
Katherine Sebov, a Canadian qualifier, was defeated 6-3, 6-0 by France’s Garcia in just 65 minutes, solidifying Garcia’s position as a contender for the year’s first Grand Slam.
Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic was defeated by Sabalenka 6-1, 6-4.
The Belarusian Sabalenka stated, “I have to concentrate on my thinking and be cool and not get too frustrated when I make errors. I really feel that my game is lacking solely this.
Another victor was Elise Mertens, the 26th seed. Garbine Muguruza, a former Melbourne finalist from Spain, cramped up before falling 3-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1, against the Belgian.
Ons Jabeur, the second-seeded Tunisian who finished second at both the US Open and Wimbledon last year, will face Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek in the opening match in her quest for a first-ever Grand Slam victory.