Tournament director Craig Tiley has no plans to change the Australian Open schedule despite a 4am finish for Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Murray stormed back from two sets down to beat Australian Kokkinakis 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 early in the early hours of Friday morning on Margaret Court Arena.

The three-time grand slam champion sealed an incredible victory in a second-round thriller that took five hours and 45 minutes to settle.

That was the longest match in Brit Murray's career and the 4.05am finish was the third-latest in the history of the sport.

Murray made his feelings over having to play at that time of day very clear, but Tiley did not see an alternative option.

"You would expect from 7pm to 12pm (the evening session) in that five-hour window, you would get two matches," Tiley said. "We also have to protect the matches. If you just put one match at night and there’s an injury, you don't have anything for fans or broadcasters.

"At this point there is no need to alter the schedule. We always look at it when we do the debrief like we do every year, we've had long matches before, at this point we've got to fit the matches into the 14 days so you don't have many options."

Murray vented his frustration at the chair umpire during the match and stated after his victory that he did not see the logic in playing so late.

"I don't know who it's beneficial for," Murray said. "We come here after the match and that's what the discussion is, rather than it being like, 'epic Murray-Kokkinakis match'. It ends in a bit of a farce.

"Amazingly people stayed until the end, and I really appreciate people doing that and creating an atmosphere for us. Some people obviously need to work the following day and everything.

"But if my child was a ball kid for a tournament and they're coming home at five in the morning, as a parent, I'm snapping at that. It's not beneficial for them. It's not beneficial for the umpires, the officials. I don't think it's amazing for the fans. It's not good for the players.

"We talk about it all the time, and it's been spoken about for years. But when you start the night matches late and have conditions like that, these things are going to happen."

World number one Iga Swiatek made an emphatic statement with a 54-minute rout of Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa to seal her progression to the Australian Open fourth round on Friday.

Swiatek dropped only six points in a 22-minute first set, before completing a 6-0 6-1 demolition over her 25-year-old opponent at Margaret Court Arena.

The Pole led 6-0 5-0, prompting a crowd member to shout "open the bakery", before Bucsa held her serve to avoid a dreaded double bagel.

Swiatek's victory sets up a fourth-round clash with 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, as the Pole chases her fourth major triumph, including the French Open and US Open crowns last year.

The 21-year-old completely outclassed her opponent, winning 82 per cent of serve points, along with 65 per cent on return, including 71 per cent on Bucsa's second serve. The Spaniard only won 19 of 71 points for the match.

Despite an unconvincing first-serve percentage of 59 per cent, Swiatek never offered up a break point, hitting 15 winners throughout the lopsided contest.

Swiatek has not dropped a set in her three matches at the tournament, giving up only six games in her past two matches.

Data slam: Swiatek demolition falls short of Barty mark

Swiatek's swift victory coincidentally came on the afternoon after Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis battled until 4am local time in a five-hour-and-50-minute epic in the men's singles.

However, the Pole's 54-minute win was not as brief as last year's champion Ash Barty who disposed of Danka Kovinic 6-0 6-0 in 44 minutes at the 2021 Australian Open.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Swiatek – 15/6
Bucsa – 4/21

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Swiatek – 3/0
Bucsa – 1/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Swiatek – 5/10
Bucsa – 0/0

Seventh seed Coco Gauff cruised safely into the Australian Open fourth round with a straight-sets victory over compatriot Bernarda Pera on Friday.

Gauff, 18, triumphed 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 35 minutes in a competitive contest where Pera, 10 years the teenager's senior, put up a fight with her powerful left-sided forehand a feature in their first-ever meeting.

But Gauff made fewer unforced errors and produced seven aces to help her clinch a fourth-round meeting with 17th seed Jelena Ostapenko.

"Today was a tough match," Gauff said during his on-court post-match interview. "Bernarda hit the ball really hard. I was really just trying to hang in there and take the ground when I could.

"Last season she had a long match streak so I knew she'd be a tough player to beat. But I'm happy to be through to the second week."

The 2022 French Open finalist broke Pera in the fourth game and secured the opening frame inside 48 minutes.

Gauff went two breaks up in the second set, leading 4-1, but Pera offered some resistance with a break back on a double fault from the teenager. But Gauff responded to progress, converting her fourth match point.

Data Slam: Gauff maintains hot start to 2023

Gauff, who knocked off 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the second round, continued her perfect start to the calendar year, having triumphed at the Auckland Open earlier this month. Gauff won five matches in Auckland, including the final 6-1 6-1 over Rebeka Masarova.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Pera – 1/7
Gauff – 7/3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Pera – 24/40
Gauff – 23/29

BREAK POINTS WON

Pera – 1/5
Gauff – 4/16

Two-time grand slam runner-up Ons Jabeur says it is "time to recover and get healthier" after her shock second-round elimination from the Australian Open on Thursday.

The Tunisian second seed committed 50 unforced errors as she was bundled out of the opening major of the 2023 season, losing 6-1 5-7 6-1 loss to Marketa Vondrousova.

The defeat comes after the 28-year-old's outstanding 2022 season where she reached the finals of both the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open.

Cameras spotted Jabeur dropping to her knees in apparent despair in the halls of Rod Laver Arena after leaving the court following her loss to Vondrousova.

The Tunisian skipped the mandatory post-match press conference, but opened up on her emotion and condition on Instagram on Friday.

"Despite the health issues, I will keep fighting and come back stronger and stronger," Jabeur posted on Instagram. "Time to recover and get healthier."

Andy Murray does not believe night matches dragging on into the early hours is beneficial to anybody.

Murray came back in stunning fashion at the Australian Open in a second-round match that started late on Thursday but dragged well into Friday in Melbourne.

The former world number one reached the third round with a marathon 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 victory over Thanasi Kokkinakis.

At five hours and 45 minutes, the five-set thriller was the longest match of Murray's career and the second-longest in Australian Open history, as the Briton claimed victory shortly after 04:00 local time.

Murray, though, sees no benefit of playing so deep into the night.

"I don't know who it is beneficial for," he said in a press conference. "We come here after the match, and that's what discussion is [about], rather than it being [on an] epic match.

"It ends in a bit of a farce. Amazingly, people stayed until the end. I really appreciate people doing that, creating an atmosphere for us.

"Some people need to work the following day. If my child was a ball kid for a tournament [and] they are coming home at five in the morning, I'm snapping at that.

"It's not beneficial for them, it's not beneficial for the umpires, the officials. It's not good for the players. We talk about it all the time. When you start the night matches, these things are going to happen."

Murray's career appeared to reach a potential end at this very tournament four years ago due to his longstanding hip issues, and it is a testament to his determination that he remains capable of going the distance in matches.

But he acknowledged there could be a health risk from long encounters such as this one, adding: "Potentially. It's strange because the courts are fast.

"When we started tonight, it felt like there was no pressure in the ball. It's just difficult to hit winners. There was a 70-shot rally yesterday, which is not normal. [We] probably need to look at that."

Kokkinakis was blunter in his assessment, posting on Twitter: "This f****** sport, man."

Murray, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, will face Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round, having progressed to that stage of the Australian Open for the first time since 2017.

Andy Murray made a record-breaking fightback in the longest match of his career to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis in an Australian Open thriller in the early hours of Friday morning.

After finding himself two sets down, Murray drew on the fighting spirit he has produced so many times over the years to secure an incredible 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6( 7-5) 6-3 7-5 win on Margaret Court Arena.

The battling Brit came off the ropes to become he first player in Open era history to win 10 grand slam matches from two sets down.

With the clock having ticked past 4am local time, the 35-year-old finally triumphed in what was the second-longest match (five hours and 45 minutes) in Australian Open history, only beaten by the 2012 final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (five hours and 53 minutes). 

Here, Stats Perform takes a closer look at some of the numbers from Murray's incredible win.

Murray's unbeaten grand slam streak against Australian players continues

Murray's success over Kokkinakis ensured his unbeaten record against Australian opponents at majors remained intact, making it 12 out of 12.

The former world number one has lost all five of his finals at the Australian Open, but he is now into the third round at the tournament for the first time since 2017.

His victory over Kokkinakis made him just the fifth male player in the Open era to win more than 50 main-draw matches at the Australian Open, joining illustrious company in Roger Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Stefan Edberg.

Murray's greater experience shows against big-serving opponent

Kokkinakis seized control of the match by taking the first two sets, but as Murray dragged the contest into the later stages, the Brit's experience in big matches showed.

The 37 aces fired down by Kokkinakis was his highest career tally in an ATP-level main-draw match and 27 more than Murray served up. Kokkinakis racked up an astonishing 102 winners to Murray's impressive 69.

Three-time grand slam champion Murray became just the seventh male player to feature in 250 grand slam main draw matches, roaring back to surpass Todd Martin and Federer for the most major victories from two sets down. It was his first such triumph at the Australian Open.

Murray has now won both meetings with Kokkinakis, after also defeating him in the 2015 Davis Cup, and sets up a third-round clash with Roberto Bautista Agut, with whom he holds a 3-3 head-to-head record.

Andy Murray could scarcely believe he managed to fight from two sets down to topple home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis in five sets at the Australian Open.

In an epic match that began on Thursday but ticked well into the early hours of Friday in Melbourne, Murray prevailed 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 in the second-longest match in Australian Open history.

With the clock having ticked past 04:00am local time, the five-time finalist finally triumphed to become the first player in Open era history to win 10 grand slam matches having lost the opening two sets.

"I don't know. Unbelievable that I managed to turn that round," said Murray, who has reached the third round of the Australian Open for the first time since 2017.

"Thanasi was serving unbelievable. I don't know how I managed to get through it. Yeah, I have a big heart.

"I'm aware I don't look particularly happy when playing but I'm at my happiest on the inside.

"I've always loved competing and always showed my emotions when I've played. I've been criticised a lot for it over the years but that's who I am."

Finally, in a message to the fans that stuck around at Melbourne Park, Murray said: "Thanks so much to everyone for staying. It's ridiculously late. You didn't need to do that but it really helps me and Thanasi when we have all of you creating an amazing atmosphere. I think we should all get off to bed now."

Kokkinakis was in cruise control when he doubled his lead with a tie-break victory in the second set.

But he then appeared to start feeling the pressure in the third set, smashing his racquet following an angry dispute with the umpire after receiving a time violation.

Taking advantage of his opponent's loss of composure, Murray battled back from 5-2 down to force another tie-break, where Kokkinakis lost four points on his serve as the match was pushed to a fourth set.

Having been one game from defeat, the tide was turning in Murray's favour, as he teed up a decider that had looked so unlikely.

Murray spurned his first seven break points but brilliantly won his eighth attempt with the set tied at five games apiece, putting the former world number one on the verge of a stunning success.

He made no mistake as he clinched victory with a forehand winner, ending the match after five hours and 45 minutes.

Only the 2012 final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (five hours and 53 minutes) beating it in terms of longevity in the tournament's history.

Ons Jabeur became the latest big-name casualty at the Australian Open when she suffered a second-round defeat to Marketa Vondrousova.

Jabeur has been hampered by knee and back injuries at the start of the season and the second seed suffered more pain on Rod Laver Arena, where the excellent Vondrousova sealed a 6-1 5-7 6-1 win in the early hours of Friday morning in Melbourne.

Vondrousova has been troubled by multiple wrist injuries since she was a runner-up at the French Open in 2019, but appears to have put those issues behind her.

The Czech left-hander dominated the first and final sets after Jabeur showed her fighting spirit in the second to force a decider at Melbourne Park.

A runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, tenacious Tunisian Jabeur appeared to be in some pain and struggling for breath during a match in which she made 50 unforced errors.

The world number two struck 27 winners to her opponent's 17, but followed the likes of Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud and Emma Raducanu in making early exits when she overcooked a forehand.

Vondrousova, ranked 78th after an injury-hit 2022 season in which missed three of the four grand slams, will face compatriot Linda Fruhvirtova in round three.

 

Aryna Sabalenka was stuck in the biggest crisis of her tennis career 12 months ago, but the Belarusian big-hitter has found light at the end of a dark tunnel.

In a second-round win over Wang Xinyu at the 2022 Australian Open, Sabalenka served 19 double faults, and it was remarkable that she still pulled off the victory.

But it was no blip. In four matches, stretching from the 2021 WTA Finals to two tournaments in Adelaide at the beginning of the 2022 season, Sabalenka served a total of 74 double faults.

She considered it a success in round three at the Australian Open when she served 10 double faults against Marketa Vondrousova, such was the extent of her problem.

"I think it's more mental," Sabalenka said at the time, "because I put a lot of pressure on myself about my serve, and the last matches I was trying to control everything on my serve; my legs, my arm, the ball toss. And it was overthinking."

A year on, and Sabalenka is looking a different player, one that perhaps might finally be ready to win a singles grand slam.

That breakthrough might come this fortnight, with Sabalenka in scintillating form on Thursday as she beat Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena.

And here's the thing: she served three aces and not one double fault.

The yips have been cured.

"I worked a lot on my serve," said the 24-year-old after the Rogers match. "Like, really a lot. You can't even imagine how much I worked. I'm just super happy right now that everything is working.

"Oh, my God, I did almost everything to try to fix my serve. The whole year we were trying different things mentally, mental stuff, technique, technical, trying to breathe differently.

"I tried a lot. I watched a lot of different videos, from when I had no problems, when I had problems, trying to understand what is different."

Sabalenka had three double faults in her first-round win over Tereza Martincova, but three is fine, normal even. Zero in round two is something special.

The fifth seed will tackle Belgium's Elise Mertens on Saturday for a place in the last 16, knowing she managed to make it through to round four last year with a malfunctioning game.

The sky is the limit for Sabalenka if the serve is reliable. A three-time slam semi-finalist, her all-round numbers against Rogers were good, with 32 winners against 18 unforced errors a healthy ratio.

She reached the title match at the WTA Finals in November, a big moment at the end of a challenging year. Now a bigger goal is in her sights.

Novak Djokovic described his hamstring injury as "not good at all" after the muscle caused him fresh concern during a second-round win at the Australian Open.

The nine-time Melbourne Park champion needed off-court treatment in set two of his match against French qualifier Enzo Couacaud.

He lost that set, but Djokovic was able to step it up to complete a 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-0 victory over the world number 191.

Speaking afterwards, Djokovic was asked about the left hamstring and painted a bleak picture.

He told Eurosport: "It's not good at all, to be honest with you. I take it day to day. It was better last match, the feeling, than tonight.

"It's really up to God to help me, and the physio and everyone. I hope I'll be able to recover and be ready for a tough match-up next match."

Grigor Dimitrov awaits Djokovic in round three, with the Bulgarian a tricky customer, albeit one who trails 9-1 in the rivalry between the pair.

Djokovic's latest win, his 23rd match victory in succession at the Australian Open, was nothing if not eventful, with Couacaud turning his ankle early on and looking in danger of having to abandon the biggest match of his career.

Later on, Djokovic demanded the umpire take action after claiming rowdy fans were distracting him by shouting out.

"There was a lot happening in tonight's match," Djokovic said in an on-court interview.

"Enzo deserves credit for the fight. He played some great tennis, especially in the second set. I managed to respond well in the third and especially in the fourth. Let's keep it going."

Novak Djokovic avoided becoming the latest Australian Open seed to fall as he survived an injury scare to see off French qualifier Enzo Couacaud.

After Casper Ruud, Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz were all sent packing earlier on Thursday, the question was whether Djokovic would become the ultimate casualty on a day of shocks.

The nine-time champion was troubled by his left hamstring problem during the second set, which went the way of world number 191 Couacaud, but Djokovic reasserted himself to secure a 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-0 victory on Rod Laver Arena.

The Serbian became increasingly incensed by shouting from the crowd during the match, pinpointing one fan as a chief culprit and telling the umpire during the fourth set: "The guy is drunk out of his mind. I'm asking you what you're you going to do about it. You heard it at least 10 times; I heard it 50 times."

Djokovic appeared to be pointing towards a group in 'Where's Wally?' fancy dress, who were reacting as though they were enjoying the moment before being spoken to by tournament officials.

It was a surprise the match reached a fourth set.

Mauritius-born Couacaud turned his ankle in the fourth game of the contest and retreated to his chair, seemingly in tears as he looked to cover his face with his towel.

The 27-year-old received medical treatment, getting the ankle strapped up, and he gamely battled on, albeit struggling initially.

It was then Djokovic who needed an injury timeout in the second set, going off court when trailing 5-4 and feeling some discomfort in the hamstring that has been troubling him during the last fortnight.

Couacaud took advantage and won the set, but from that point on it became all Djokovic, as he moved through to round three.

Data Slam: Djokovic sets up Dimitrov clash

Next for Djokovic will be a battle with the 27th seed, Grigor Dimitrov. He described the Bulgarian as a good friend and said they were "Balkan brothers". The rivalry on the court has been emphatically one-sided between Djokovic and Dimitrov, though, with nine of their past 10 meetings having gone the way of the Serbian.

Dimitrov's lone win came on clay in Madrid in 2013, while it will be a third grand slam match between the pair, with Djokovic having notched up previous victories at the French Open and Wimbledon.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic– 9/6
Couacaud – 7/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic– 63/36
Couacaud – 36/32

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic– 7/21
Couacaud – 0/1

Casper Ruud followed Rafael Nadal out of the Australian Open and admitted his decision to play through much of December rather than have an off-season may have been a mistake.

The Norwegian second seed, who reached finals at the French Open and US Open last year, had been hoping for another deep run this fortnight, only to run into an in-form Jenson Brooksby.

After a 6-3 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 defeat in three hours and 55 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, Ruud was asked about his decision to head to Latin America for a lucrative exhibition jaunt with Nadal at the end of the 2022 campaign.

He planned to take a break in February instead, but can now begin that early after going out in round two in Melbourne.

The same goes for top seed Nadal, who was already heading for defeat to Mackenzie MacDonald on Wednesday before an injury compounded his misery.

Ruud's initial reaction to being questioned about his busy December was to be defensive, saying: "It's very easy to sit here now and say that was bad for maybe both Rafa and I due to the fact that we lost early here.

"At the same time, I see no reason why we couldn't have a good Australian Open or made better results down here. I think it's coincidental sometimes."

He spoke of the talent among fellow tour players making every player vulnerable, and the "small margins" between victory and defeat.

Asked whether he had any break at all, Ruud outlined how he left for the Latin America trip on November 21 and returned in early December, before heading off on a week's holiday to the Maldives. He then stopped for a training block in Abu Dhabi on the way home and played two matches at the Mubadala exhibition event.

At the end of this season, Ruud might insist on a longer break and a focused training block.

"It was maybe not enough to be able to perform well here this year," Ruud said. "So it will be considered by me and my team what we will do in December this year, and if this was the right way to prepare for Australian Open or not.

"Maybe it looks like it was not the right way, but there are many factors that come into play. I have done what I felt was the right preparation but wasn't able to perform and win as many matches as I hoped here this year."

Taylor Fritz and Alexander Zverev were sent packing from the Australian Open as wildcard Alexei Popyrin and lucky loser Michael Mmoh sprang major shocks.

Australian Popyrin said he was living a dream after beating the fancied Fritz in an epic second-round match lasting four hours and two minutes on John Cain Arena.

American Mmoh, whose mother has Australian citizenship, knocked out former world number two Zverev just moments later on Margaret Court Arena.

Their exits followed the shock defeat for second seed Casper Ruud earlier in the day, as Novak Djokovic's half of the draw lost a host of big names.

Wildcard Popyrin won 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 against American eighth seed Fritz, revelling in the chants of "Popy" from the crowd afterwards.

The 23-year-old was close to tears, his voice breaking, after reaching the third round of a grand slam for the fifth time.

"This win, it means so much to me," Popyrin said. "I had the toughest year last year, didn't win many matches. I've won as many matches this year as I won in the whole of last year, and it's only January.

"Pre-season I put my head down and worked as hard as I could. I don't want that feeling I had last year ever again.

"I wrote that down to myself in my head, and I'm going to keep working, I'm going to keep pushing, I'm going to keep trying to go all the way."

Addressing the crowd, Popyrin added: "I love this feeling. I want more of this feeling. I want you guys to have this feeling more. I love you guys so much, thank you."

He is coached by former top-20 star Xavier Malisse and felt the Belgian's influence against Fritz.

"I was playing four hours, and me and my coach were locked in, it was like two against one against Fritzy. We had the same thoughts all the time," Popyrin said. "This is the dream for me and I don't want to wake up at all."

Mmoh was beaten by Aleksandar Vukic in the final round of qualifying but received a call into the draw at the last minute, after a late withdrawal, allowing him to cancel a flight home.

The world number 109 will face fellow American JJ Wolf next, for a place in round four, having ousted 12th seed Zverev 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-3 6-2.

Mmoh's father, Tony, represented Nigeria and won a match at the Australian Open in 1988.

"Life is crazy," Mmoh said. "Right when you think everything is looking dim, everything is looking dark, there's light at the end of the tunnel.

"My week is proof of that. I could easily have been in the States, was ready to be in the States, had my bag packed, my flight booked, I was meant to leave yesterday morning. The fact I'm playing Margaret Court is insane.

"If you look at my box over there, there's about five to seven Aussies. I used to come every single Christmas to visit them, unfortunately my mum couldn't be here, I feel like I'm half Australian because of them and I love you guys. This is like my second home now so might as well make it a homecoming.

"It's the biggest win of my career hands down. Coming out I felt the nerves a little bit. I settled down at the end of the first, and at that point I told myself I shouldn't even be here. I told myself on match point if I get a chance just go for it, because I shouldn't even be here."

Rafael Nadal faces up to eight weeks out of action with the hip flexor injury he sustained on his way out of the Australian Open.

The defending champion and top seed in Melbourne was bundled out 6-4 6-4 7-5 by world number 65 Mackenzie McDonald on Wednesday, struggling to move around the court during the closing stages of the contest.

He refused to retire and afterwards confirmed he aggravated an issue he had been suffering with for a couple of days. The 36-year-old Spaniard knew the problem he had been suffering with for a "couple of days" had worsened, but he was unsure exactly what was causing it.

Now Nadal has clarity, receiving details of the injury after tests on Thursday.

He knows that provided all goes to plan, he should be back on court for the clay-court stretch in Europe leading up to the French Open, where the 14-time winner is also the defending champion.

Nadal wrote on Twitter: "Good afternoon. I have carried out medical tests after the defeat yesterday. The MRI shows a grade two lesion in the iliopsoas of the left leg. Now it's sports rest and anti-inflammatory physiotherapy. Normal recovery time six to eight weeks."

The 22-time major winner may struggle to get back to full fitness in time for the Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000 events in March.

Those are due to be preceded on his schedule by a high-profile exhibition match in Las Vegas against Carlos Alcaraz on March 5; however, both men are presently injured, raising doubts over whether that will go ahead.

Nadal was distraught to suffer yet another injury setback, after severe foot and abdomen problems hit his 2022 season.

"In terms of sports and in terms of injuries and tough moments, I mean, that's another one," Nadal said on Wednesday. "I can't say that I am not destroyed mentally at this time, because I will be lying."

Casper Ruud made two grand slam finals last year, but his 2023 Australian Open campaign fell to pieces with a shock second-round loss to 22-year-old Jenson Brooksby.

American Brooksby prevailed on his fifth match point, after fluffing three in the third set, when second seed Ruud hit a return long. That sealed a 6-3 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 victory in three hours and 55 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Ruud's demise on Thursday means he joins top seed Rafael Nadal in exiting early in Melbourne, with the Norwegian departing in the Spaniard's wake after struggling through the first two sets before a medical time-out prior to the third.

Ruud staved off three match points at 5-3 down in the third, when Brooksby got tight with victory in sight, before winning the set in a tie-break.

However, Brooksby regained his composure in the fourth set and broke twice early to open up a 3-0 lead, barely looking back.

Brooksby's triumph is the biggest of his career, having only ever previously beaten one top-10 player, Stefanos Tsitsipas, at last year's Indian Wells. It also provides an early highlight in Brooksby's first Australian Open, having missed out in 2022 after testing positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the tournament.

"I was just really proud of my mental resolve after that third-set battle didn’t go my way," Brooksby said during an on-court post-match interview. "I thought I was playing really strong. I didn’t want to lose my focus out there."

Ruud, who was the runner-up at both the 2022 French Open and 2022 US Open, could not match Brooksby's 50 winners, while the Norwegian committed 55 unforced errors. He also failed to capitalise on Brooksby's unconvincing 57 per cent first-serve percentage.

 

Data Slam: Americans maintain winning form in men's singles

Brooksby's triumph sets up a third-round date with compatriot Tommy Paul as the Americans continue to make waves in the men's singles draw. It was another American, Mackenzie McDonald, who upset Nadal on Wednesday, while a flood of US stars have reached the third round.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Brooksby – 2/2
Ruud – 5/4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Brooksby – 50/48
Ruud – 33/55

BREAK POINTS WON

Brooksby – 9/13
Ruud – 4/12

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