Tennis

Australian Open, Day 1: Gruelling Day For Murray, Kerber, Wawrinka, Nishikori And Venus

Andy Murray said he will never give up in his quest for an elusive Australian Open title after grinding out a hard-earned win over Illya Marchenko in the first round on Monday.

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Defending champion and top seed Angelique Kerber battled her nerves and faltered badly with victory in sight before finally overcoming Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 to reach the second round.

Former winner Stan Wawrinka survived a massive first-round scare to edge Martin Klizan in a five-set thriller.

Wawrinka, a three-time grand slam champion, fought back from a break down in the final set to overhaul the 35th-ranked Slovak, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in 3hr 24min on Margaret Court Arena.

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Veteran campaigner Venus Williams dug deep to grind her way into the Australian Open second round, beating plucky Ukrainian youngster Kateryna Kozlova in two gruelling sets.

The world No 17, who played her first Australian Open in 1998 and turned professional in 1994 – the year her opponent was born – came through the near two-hour marathon 7-6, 7-5.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori called for changes to the Davis Cup format after coming through a gruelling five-set dogfight in his opening match at the Australian Open on Monday.

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The fifth seed was on court for three-and-a-half hours in sapping heat before he completed a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 win over 48th-ranked Russian Andrey Kuznetsov to maintain his unbeaten record in five-set matches in Melbourne.

Culled From The National

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