Andy Murray v Thanasi Kokkinakis, video, highlights, priceless moment lost in marathon


So rich with storylines was Thursday night’s marathon battle between Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis that one priceless moment quickly found itself buried.

As the British icon and Australian talent launched into another rally during the fifth game of the fourth set, Kokkinakis with a one-set lead in his keeping, Murray whacked a forehand and the ball caught the lip of the net.

It popped over the net on the chair umpire’s side and, after racing in from behind the baseline, Kokkinakis angled the ball to the other side of the court.

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That left Murray with an open expanse of blue to work with, the three-time singles major winner lapping up the gift as he bunted the ball deep.

Kokkinakis couldn’t contain his frustration, screaming in disbelief at his misfortune, shaking the net by the cord and slapping it.

Murray? He dipped his head, began wandering back to the baseline, scratched his neck and grinned, amused by his stroke of luck at Margaret Court Arena.

Perhaps he had a flashback to the moment that had sealed his five-set win over Matteo Berrettini two nights earlier: a clip of the net that bobbled over and dashed his rival’s campaign.

“Is that Andy smiling a little bit?” said commentator Darren Cahill with a laugh on Thursday night.

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Tension, heartache, delight and humour — the moment had it all.

Kokkinakis’ agony was Murray’s bliss.

Both men had low moments — and a myriad of them.

Murray, who had never fought back to win from a two-set deficit at the Australian Open, dropped the first two sets.

He was then broken in the second game of the third, Kokkinakis establishing a 2-0 buffer.

Adding to Murray’s anxiety was his coach’s empty seat; Ivan Lendl had ducked away for a bathroom break, leaving the veteran crying out.

“Where are you?” he yelled, eyeballing his team’s pocket in the crowd.

Murray’s impenetrable defence comes up trumps

The legendary Scotsman snapped again during the deciding set, swatting the court with his racquet after coughing up three break points.

As the instant classic goes, that didn’t matter; Murray broke the local’s serve in another game to clinch a 6-5 buffer, before holding serve to round out victory.

The longest previous match Murray had played lasted five hours and seven minutes. He withstood five hours and 45 minutes on Thursday night, eventually seizing victory when he smacked a two-handed backhand at 4.05am.

“Murray is still the master,” Sam Smith said from the commentary box.

Without a hint of a smile, he plucked off his cap, stroked his sweat-soaked hair and dragged his legs, one of them partly bionic, toward the net to embrace his valiant opponent.

It was an hour and 35 minutes earlier that Murray and Kokkinakis had contested a theatrical point featuring a cruel net cord — a forgotten moment worthy of reminiscence.

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