Australian Open: Andy Murray stops the clock and edges Matteo Berrettini



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Australian Open: Andy Murray stops the clock and edges Matteo Berrettini

Four years ago, Andy Murray left the Australian Open in tears following an epic clash against Roberto Bautista Agut. Unwilling to surrender and end his career, Andy endured all the obstacles, surgeries and a metal cap on his hip and extended his tennis journey.

World no. 66 stopped the clock at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday and scored a memorable 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7, 7-6 victory over Matteo Berrettini in four hours and 49 minutes. The Italian played a terrible backhand on a match point at 5-4 in the decider and fell 10-6 in the match tie break to hand the victory to the veteran.

Murray secured his 50th Australian Open triumph and prevailed in his 40th five-setter in a career. Matteo fired 31 aces, but his strokes let him down in the pivotal moments. Andy played better behind the second serve, and both players had more winners than unforced errors in a high-quality encounter.

There were only ten break chances, five on each side.

Andy Murray saved a match point and defeated Matteo Berrettini at Rod Laver Arena.

Berrettini broke Andy once in the third set and experienced three breaks in the opening two sets.

They stayed neck and neck in the fourth and fifth, and Murray prevailed after a lucky net cord return winner at 9-6 in the match tie break. The Briton made a strong start and placed a backhand down the line winner in game two for an early break.

Andy denied two break points in game seven with winners and wrapped up the opener with an ace in game nine for 6-3 in 43 minutes. With a boost on his side, Murray dropped six points behind the initial shot in the second set and kept the pressure on the other side.

He broke Matteo in the first game with a short backhand crosscourt winner and controlled the scoreboard with one good hold after another. Andy delivered another break in game nine to take the set 6-3 and open a massive advantage after an hour and 23 minutes.

Berrettini fended off break chances in the third set's fourth game and gained a boost. He grabbed his only break at 2-2 after Andy's loose forehand and served well to close the set with a service winner in game ten. The fourth set saw fine serving from both players, with no deuces or break chances in 12 games.

It went into a tie break, and Murray was two points away from the finish line three times. However, the Italian stayed calm and seized his third set point at 8-7 to force a decider after three hours and 34 minutes. Both players served well in the opening nine games, and Andy served to stay in the match at 4-5.

Berrettini forced the rival's mistake with a sharp return and created a match point. He squandered it after netting a routine backhand, a shot that would cost him dearly. Murray held and leveled the score at 5-5, ready to fight until the end.

The set went into a deciding match tie break, and the Briton forged a 6-1 advantage thanks to three mini-breaks. Andy served well and moved 8-3 in front and closer to the finish line. Berrettini climbed back to 6-9, but the deficit was too big for a complete comeback.

Murray sealed the deal with a lucky net cord forehand return winner that propelled him into the second round.