Australian Open: Andy Murray wins at 4:05 a.m., second-latest Grand Slam finish ever

2023 Australian Open - Day 4
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Andy Murray won match point at 4:05 a.m. at the Australian Open in Melbourne, beating Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second-latest finish in Grand Slam tennis history.

Murray, a 35-year-old, five-time Australian Open runner-up who nearly retired at this event four years ago, won 4-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-5 over the Australian Kokkinakis in 5 hours, 45 minutes, the longest match of his career.

“Unbelievable that I managed to turn that around,” Murray said on court. “I have a big heart.

“Everyone, including me, I think we should all get off to bed now.”

The latest finish in Grand Slam history was 4:34 a.m. — when Lleyton Hewitt outlasted Marcos Baghdatis in the 2008 Australian Open third round 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-3.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men

Murray-Kokkinakis moved into the No. 2 spot ahead of a 2007 Australian Open first-round match that ended at 3:34 a.m. Italian Andreas Seppi beat American Bobby Reynolds 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-3.

This was also the second-longest Australian Open match ever by time — eight minutes shy of the 2012 final won by Novak Djokovic over Nadal.

The latest Grand Slam finish outside of the Australian Open happened at last year’s U.S. Open. Carlos Alcaraz extinguished Jannik Sinner at 2:50 a.m. in the quarterfinals en route to the title.

“I don’t know who it’s beneficial for,” Murray said of finishing so late. “A match like that, yeah, we come here after the match, and that’s what discussion is. Rather than it being like epic Murray-Kokkinakis match, it ends in a bit of a farce.

“If my child was a ball kid for a tournament, they’re coming home at 5 in the morning, as a parent, I’m snapping at that. It’s not beneficial for them. It’s not beneficial for the umpires, the officials. I don’t think it’s amazing for the fans. It’s not good for the players.”

Somehow, Murray must get back on the court for a third-round match against No. 24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. It was Bautista Agut who beat Murray at the 2019 Australian Open, which many thought would send Murray into retirement due to a hip injury.

Murray underwent surgery not knowing if it would alleviate the problem enough for him to return. It was successful, but the three-time Slam champion and former No. 1 hasn’t gotten past the third round of a major since.

Murray has played more than 10 hours combined in his first two matches at this Australian Open. He beat No. 13 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in 4 hours, 49 minutes, in a five-set, first-round match.

“Let’s hope I can keep going here, but I need to keep recovering now,” Murray said.

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Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James
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Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

ON HER TURF: U.S. freeskier Maggie Voisin on grief, loss, finding motivation

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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