Britain’s Andy Murray turned in one of his best performances in recent years as he held off Italy’s 13th seed Matteo Berrettini and won a thriller in five sets in the first round of the Australian Open.
The 35-year-old Scotsman looked stunned after claiming a 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-6) win over Rod Laver Arena.
Murray, who thought hip surgery in 2019 would end his career, saved a match point at 5-4 in the decider.
Dan Evans also qualified after beating Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis.
Evans, seeded 25th, won 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-4 in a first-round match that was delayed three hours due to extreme heat in Melbourne.
Former world number one Murray then ensured four Britons would play in the second round – following Emma Raducanu and Cameron Norrie’s victory on Monday – with a memorable victory over last year’s semi-finalist Berrettini.
It was Murray’s first victory over a top-20 opponent at a Grand Slam since 2017.
After leading 6-1 in the tiebreak from the first to the final 10th set, Murray claimed victory with a forehand that took a huge chunk of the net cord and left Berrettini blocked.
The three-time major champion will face Italian veteran Fabio Fognini or Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round on Thursday.
“I’m going to feel it tonight and tomorrow, but right now I’m incredibly happy and proud of myself,” said five-time Melbourne runner-up Murray.
“I worked to give myself the opportunity to play in games like this and against players like Matteo. It paid off tonight.
“I got a little lucky at the end with the net cord, but I felt like part of the tennis was really good.
“He’s an incredible player and one of the best competitors.”
Evans, 32, will next face French veteran Jeremy Chardy.
The British number two had taken a two-sets-to-one lead when the players were taken off the pitch as temperatures soared above 35C at Melbourne Park.
Cooler conditions on their return at 5 p.m. local time – after a three-hour break – helped Evans wrap up a 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-4 win.