Australian Open 2023: Battling Murray steals Novak’s comeback thunder

After the controversy surrounding him here 12 months ago, few would begrudge the returning Novak Djokovic to lap up the limelight once more. And while the Serb’s supremely comfortable victory late into the night was impressive as it was ominous, it was far from the story of Day 2.

Where else to start but Andy Murray’s typically battling, typically brilliant resolve against 13th seed Berrettini, the Scot prevailing eventually in a fifth set match breaker. The Italian was off-colour true, and Murray’s task gets only more difficult in likely opponent Kokkinakis – but let’s enjoy this relic of the previous generation.

Joining the headline-makers in round 2 are contenders in Ruud, Fritz, Zverev [sort of], Dimitrov, de Minaur and Rune, some had to battle more than others it is fair to say, but all have the talent to go far yet. Elsewhere there were typically gutsy marathon wins for Davidovich Fokina and Schwartzman. 5th seed Rublev joins them after downing the still recovering Thiem.

Ons Jabeur had an almighty scare against the dangerous Tamara Zidansek in a fascinating encounter; the Slovenian seemingly throwing away the match and swatting away the very real momentum she’d amassed at the start of the 3rd. Much more comfortable wins for the other challengers in this half of the draw: Garcia, Sabalenka, Pliskova, Bencic, Fernandez [defeating Cornet] and Kontaveit all sailing through in straight sets.

We did lose Muguruza [to 26th seed Mertens] and Kaia Kanepi – both in three set battles.

Day 3 Matches to Catch

Raducanu vs Gauff [QUALITY]

Millman vs Medvedev [ENTERTAINMENT/ATMOSPHERE]

Muchova vs Collins [QUALITY]

Daniel vs Shapovalov [QUALITY]

Hurkacz vs Sonego [POTENTIAL UPSET]

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