Andy Murray through to Australian Open second round after Basilashvili win

Andy Murray is through to the second round of the Australian Open after beating world No.23 Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4.

Murray’s first match at the Australian Open for three years saw the former British No.1 play out a hard-fought four-set match to reach the second round where he’ll play Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel.

The 34-year-old headed into his first round match in fine form having reached the final of the Sydney International last week and that purple patch continued as he stormed into an early lead, dropping just one game in the opening set.

While Murray was on the front foot right from the off, his early lead was almost gifted to him thanks to some early nerves from Basilashvili with the Georgian making far too many unforced errors early on.

Basilashvili soon found his stride through and went 4-1 up in the second set after back-to-back breaks while errors began to slip into Murray’s game, the Scot double faulting in a crucial fifth game.

Murray then broke back but the longer rallies were still going Basilashvili’s way and the No.21 seed levelled the match by taking the second set.

Basilashvili saved three break points, two with aces, in the fifth game as some early signs of frustration from Murray began to show but at the fourth time of asking he got the break to take a 3-2 lead in the third set.

The Georgian would later be forced to save two set points before Murray held serve and moved to within one set of the second round, his defence in fine working order throughout.

A cagey fourth set should have seen Basilashvili go 5-2 up had it not been for Murray taking advantage of his opponent’s loss in concentration to pull it back to 5-5 with some huge serves and some punishing points.

As we reached the three-hour mark, a tie-break was needed to decide the fourth and Basilashvili raced into a 5-1 lead. Murray saved two match points but a weak shot into the net took them into a fifth set decider.

Murray was quick to put the disappointing tie-break behind him though, breaking at the first time of asking and racing into a 3-0 lead with a new found fire in his belly.

But in typical Murray fashion this wasn’t going to be straight forward and before long it was 4-4, Basilashvili breaking back and then holding serve as a raucous crowd lapped up the efforts of both players on court.

Murray needed to dig deep one final time and earned himself three match points, Basilashvili saved two but couldn’t stop the third as the Scot let out a roar of emotion upon reaching the second round, three years after calling time on his career following a hip injury.

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