World No. 15 Aslan Karatsev admitted he was happy after just barely avoiding a shock loss on the opening day of the Australian Open. Karatsev, seeded at No. 18, edged out world No. 71 Munar 3-6 7-6 (1) 6-7 (3) 6-4 6-4 after four hours and 55 minutes of play.
Karatsev, 28, won Sydney last week after beating Andy Murray in the final. "First match, long match, just arrived from another tournament, didn’t have much time to adapt, different weather conditions here. despite all the unforced errors I won and a win is a win.
I’m happy," Karatsev told Eurosport Russia after the win.
Karatsev to @Eurosport_RU:
First match, long match, just arrived from another tournament, didn’t have much time to adapt, different weather conditions here.
Despite all the unforced errors I won and a win is a win. I’m happy. — Oleg S. (@AnnaK_4ever) January 17, 2022
Karatsev survived the Munar challenge
Karatsev led 2-1 after the opening three games of the match but then Munar went on a major run as the Spaniard won the next eight games to take a 6-3 3-0 lead.
Karatsev worked his way back into the set and managed to force a tie-break, which he dominated to level the match at one set apiece. Karatsev twice recovered from a break down in the third set but fell short in his bid to steal the set as Munar won the third set tie-break to go up by two sets to one.
After losing the second set, Karatsev started the fourth set with back-to-back breaks. Munar got both breaks back but Karatsev kept his focus as he broke the Spaniard again in the seventh game before serving out for a decider in the 10th game.
Karatsev got off to a fast start to the fifth set, having claimed two early breaks to take a 4-1 lead. Munar got one break back but couldn't get back the second as Karatsev served out for the match in the 10th game. Karatsev is making his second main draw appearance at the Australian Open.
Karatsev famously made the Australian Open semifinal as a qualifier last year. Karatsev plays next Mackenzie McDonald. Karatsev started the season with five consecutive wins.