Former world number one Andy Murray staged one of his greatest comebacks to defeat local hope Thanasi Kokkinakis in a second-round thriller at the Australian Open early Friday morning.
After five hours and 45 minutes, the 35-year-old Scot defeated an inspired Kokkinakis 4-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-5.
The Margaret Court Arena was packed when Murray won his 250th Grand Slam match at 4.05am local time.
The three-time Grand Slam champion, who has had a partially metal hip implanted in 2019, put in another great performance.
He will now play Roberto Bautista Agut, who defeated him at the 2019 Australian Open, ending Murray’s career due to the hip ailment.
Murray demonstrated again his voracious hunger for a fight, despite the absurdity of top sport at such an hour.
The 26-year-old Kokkinakis, who has struggled with injuries, dominated the first two sets with aggressive tennis and ball-striking that belied his world rating of 159.
Murray was on the verge of his best career triumph when Kokkinakis led 5-2 in the third set. Murray persisted.
Kokkinakis tightened up as Murray threw caution to the wind and latched on to his target.
Murray battled back to force a fifth set with a second-serve ace in the fourth set.
The stadium’s loud atmosphere revitalised a tired Kokkinakis early in set five as he kept his nose in front on serve.