Australian Open: Andy Murray beats Basilashvili over five sets
Britain's Andy Murray marked his return to the Australian Open to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili over a tense five-set win.
Murray cruised to the first set in 23 minutes but any hopes of a routine win disappeared as 21st seed Basilashvili recovered. Momentum swung both ways before the wildcard won 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4.
Murray, a five-time beaten finalist in Melbourne, will play Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in the second round on Thursday. "It's amazing," Murray said shortly after winning on John Cain Arena, where he lost to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in 2019.
"It's been a tough three or four years but I've put in a lot of hard work to get here. I've played on this court many times and the atmosphere is always incredible. It is where I thought I had potentially played my last match but to win a five-set battle like that, I couldn't have asked any more," he said.
Murray is ranked 113th in the world and qualified for the first grand slam of the year as a wildcard. He has repeatedly said he remains confident of going deep into major tournaments once again.
On his aims in Melbourne, he said: "Hopefully keep improving - there are things in my game I could do better. I would like to have a deep run. It's something I haven't had since I came back from injury - and I hope I can do it in this tournament."