Murray takes rare pride in Open triumph

Five-time finalist Andy Murray has allowed himself a rare moment of personal pride after adding to his Australian Open legend with an heroic five-set first-round victory over Italian ace Matteo Berrettini.

The veteran father of four wound back the clock to save a match point and beat the highly-rated 13th seed 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-6) in a four-hour, 49-minute cliffhanger on Tuesday.

It was the 35-year-old's first over a top-20 rival at a grand slam since he toppled then-world No.9 Kei Nishikori at the 2017 French Open.

"The last few years, I've certainly questioned myself at times," he told reporters.

"There's certainly a lot of people questioned me and my ability, whether I could still perform at the biggest events and the biggest matches.

"Yeah, I felt very proud of myself after the match. That's not something that I generally felt over the years at the end of tennis matches."

Murray credited a heavy training block in Florida for his marathon effort.

"I'm really proud of how I fought through that match at the end, when it could have got away from me, how I played in the tiebreak at the end," he said.

"Yeah, I was impressed with myself ... I'm hard on myself usually. Tonight I need to give myself some credit because the last few years have been tough.

"I've lost a few of those matches, those type of matches, in the slams the last couple years.

"That one could have gone the other way tonight, but I stayed strong and I deserved to win."

Murray's milestone 50th Australian Open win also reversed a four-set third-round loss to Berrettini at the US Open in September, and teed up a likely second-round showdown with Australia's own irrepressible comeback man Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Kokkinakis was just five points away from possible victory over Fabio Fognini, leading 6-1 6-2 4-2 and 40-15 up on the Italian's serve when play had to be halted.

Victory was nothing less than Murray deserved.

Defeat from two sets up would have been another cruel, cruel blow for the former world No.1.

With finals losses to nine-time champion Novak Djokovic in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 and to six-time winner Roger Federer in 2010, no man has endured more Melbourne Park heartbreak than Murray.

In fact, no man in grand slam history has endured five finals defeats at the same major without getting their hands on the trophy.

That the Scottish braveheart is still playing is somewhat of a tennis miracle after Murray tearfully announced he was likely to retire in 2019 after going out in the first round.

He has undergone several rounds of hip surgery to keep his career going.

"It's impressive what he could do after so many surgeries, after all the kilometres that he ran in his career," Berrettini told reporters.

"It just shows how much he loves the game, how much he loves these kind of matches."

For his part, Berrettini became the latest victim of the 'Netflix curse' - that is, a player to star in the newly released 'Break Point' series to either withdraw from the Open or suffer an early exit.

Spaniard Paula Badosa and top-ranked Australians Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic all withdrew with injuries after starring in the series.

The match was played under the roof at Rod Laver Arena after the Open's heat policy was implemented as temperatures in Melbourne peaked around 37 degrees outside.