Australian Open: Murray targeting 'deep run' after beating Basilashvili in five-set epic

By Sports Desk January 18, 2022

Andy Murray marked his return to the Australian Open with a thrilling five-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili and immediately targeted "a deep run" in the competition.

The three-time grand slam winner edged 21st seed Basilashvili 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 in a first-round match that lasted three hours and 52 minutes.

It is Murray's first win at the tournament in five years in what was his first outing at Melbourne Park since 2019, when he thought he might have to retire.

Murray was playing on the same court where a retirement video was played after defeat to Roberto Bautista Agut three years ago.

But the 34-year-old has battled back from injury setbacks admirably and last week reached his first ATP Tour final since October 2019 at the Sydney Classic.

With Japan's Taro Daniel now standing between Murray and a place in round three of the Australian Open, the five-time beaten finalist is eager to make up for lost time.

"It's amazing to be back," Murray said in his on-court interview. "It's been a tough three, four years. 

"I have put a lot of work to be back here and I have played on this court many times and the atmosphere has been incredible. 

"I have always had fantastic support and this is the court I thought I potentially played my last match on. 

"But it is good to be back, winning a five-set battle like that. I could not ask for any more.

"I would love to have a deep run here if possible. It's something I have not had at one of the slams since I came back from the injury and it is something that motivates me."

Wild card Murray broke hard-hitting Basilashvili nine times on John Cain Arena, but he looked physically drained as the match dragged on.

The former world number one showed incredible resolve to take the deciding set, however, against an opponent that had lost just once in seven previous five-set battles.

"I will hopefully keep improving. There are things in my game I can definitely do better," Murray said.

"I have played some of my best tennis here over the years. I feel comfortable here and I hope I can do well here this tournament."

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