When the draw for this year’s Australian Open, Andy Murray was paired with a familiar opponent. Matteo Berrettini, former Wimbledon finalist and the 14th seed at this tournament, would be the opening opponent for Andy Murray, Having just met at the 2022 U.S. Open, where the Italian won in four sets, Murray had to be somewhat deflated to see Berrettni waiting for him in the opening round.
If Murray was phased by his draw, he didn’t show it once the players got onto the court. Andy Murray rolled back the clock and played a fantastic opening two sets to take a commanding two sets to none lead over Matteo Berrettini. Having to win one more set to secure the opening round upset, the Italian fought back to get back into the match. Eventually, Berrettini would win the following two sets, including a fourth set that featured a classic tiebreak that Berrettini would win, 9-7. The match would be decided in a fifth set.
The fifth set was uniform, with both men holding serve until the set score got to 6-6. With the match being decided by a ten-point tiebreak, the format clearly favored the big-serving Italian, Berrettini. However, it was Andy Murray who would jump out to a fast and sizable lead in the tiebreaker. The lead would be too much for Berrettini to overcome and Andy Murray would take the tiebreak and the match.
For Andy Murray, the upset what a massive result which now opens up the draw slightly for the former #1 player in the world. In his next round, Murray will have the winner of Thansani Kokkinakis or Fabio Fognini. Murray would be favored against either man.
If Murray can navigate through the opening rounds, Casper Ruud would be awaiting him in the 4th round, his highest-ranked opponent in his quarter. For Murray, it’s not about the tennis, but his body. After a long, bruising match to open the tournament, Murray will now have to recover in time for his next round. His health will be the real test for Andy Murray.
Murray had a steep opening test but faced that one with flying colors. After the win, Murray has opened up his draw mightily and has a chance to make a deep run. While pre-tournament, it seemed unlikely Murray would do anything of significance at this year’s Australian Open, now Andy is in a great position to make the quarterfinals or even deeper. It still feels unlikely Murray can win it all this year but the same could have been said for Rafael Nadal’s magical run last year. Why can’t Andy Murray do the same?