Injured Djokovic Reach Third Round, Murray Wins Epic Clash with Kokkinakis
Novak Djokovic battled through injury to reach the Australian Open third round on another day when more of his expected title rivals were knocked out.
The 35-year-old Serb, going for a record-extending 10th men’s triumph in Melbourne, won 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-0 against French qualifier Enzo Couacaud.
Djokovic had a medical timeout, seemingly hampered by an existing hamstring injury, but came through.
A day after Rafael Nadal exited, second seed Casper Ruud was also beaten.
The Norwegian, who reached two Grand Slam finals last year, lost 6-3 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 to American Jenson Brooksby.
In the same quarter of the draw, eighth seed Taylor Fritz also lost 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 to Australian wildcard Alexei Popyrin.
Earlier, Andy Murray produced another scarcely believable display to fight back from two sets down to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis in an epic Australian Open match finishing at 04:05 local time.
In one of the latest finishes in tennis history, Murray won 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 on a night of gruelling physical and mental endurance.
The second-round match started at 22:20 and lasted five hours 45 minutes.
It was the longest contest in 35-year-old Murray’s eventful career.
The exhausted Briton remained straight-faced after taking his first match point before the two players enjoyed a warm embrace at the net.
With his mum Judy in tears in the stands, he then let out a huge roar as he contemplated one of the best comebacks of his career.
A healthy and boisterous crowd stayed inside Margaret Court Arena until the end, showing their appreciation for the efforts of both men and providing much-needed vocal support.
The match is the second-latest finish in Australian Open history after a 2008 third-round match between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis that ended at 04:34.