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Tuesday, 17 January 2017 14:49 PM GMT
Australian Open Night 2: Djokovic, Radwanska advance as Karlovic wins marathon rounds up the action from the second night session at the 2017 Australian Open. READ MORE

The Wimbledon marathon of 2011 will surely never be beaten but the Australian Open had a bit of history of its own on Tuesday.

For John Isner and Nicolas Mahut (11 hours, five minutes), read Ivo Karlovic and Horacio Zeballos. On a warm evening at Melbourne Park, out on court 19, the pair battled it out for five hours, 15 minutes before Karlovic finally recorded a 6-7(6), 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 22-20 victory. 

It wasn’t the longest match at the Australian Open time-wise – the 2012 final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal lasted five hours, 53 minutes – but at 84 games, it edged out the 83 played in the 2003 match between Andy Roddick and Younes El Aynaoui, making it the longest in Melbourne since the introduction of the tiebreak.

“I was thinking about that other match Isner against Mahut,” Karlovic said. “I was hoping little bit it could go this long so I could also have record. This is also good like this.”

The 37-year-old Karlovic walloped down a tournament-record 75 aces - beating previous incumbent Thomas Johansson by 24 - and the final set took two hours, 37 minutes before Zeballos finally sent a forehand long, securing the Croatian's place in the second round.

Karlovic hit 38 of his aces in the final set, which alone contained as many games as the four previous sets. And it took its toll. “My arm is good, but my knee, my back, little bit not so good. Elbow. All in all, it's okay. Every day it's like this.

“But this is what I will, after my career, remember. If it was easy match or I lost easy, I wouldn't remember. But this one definitely I will remember forever.

“I don't know how I will recover. I will have two days now. Tomorrow off. I will not even hit. I'm just going to do the ice bath, try to hit good, go to sleep early. Hopefully that will be enough.”

Karlovic will play Andrew Whittingham, a local wildcard, in the second round, providing he makes it out of bed.

Novak sees off Verdasco

Twelve months ago, Fernando Verdasco pulled off one of the biggest shocks in recent Australian Open memory when he beat Rafael Nadal in the first round. On Tuesday, he tried to do the same to Novak Djokovic, but fell short.

Having saved five match points after scraping past Verdasco in Doha earlier this month, Djokovic was never likely to make the same mistake.

He raced through the first set and though Verdasco led by a break three times in the second, he couldn’t close it out, and the six-time champion Djokovic won 6-1, 7-6, 6-2.

“I knew that winning second set would be crucial, because I definitely didn't want to give him wings, you know. I didn't want to have him start swinging at the ball, as he can. I'm very pleased with the first round, considering I had one of the toughest first-round draws, Overall I'm feeling good about my performance."

Around the grounds

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska was made to fight by Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria before going through 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 while Caroline Wozniacki and Daria Gavrilova also advanced to round two.

The in-form Grigor Dimitrov powered past Christopher O'Connell, while, Tommy Haas, who was making another comeback to tennis, withdrew injuryed when trailing Benoit Paire by two set.

Stat of the night

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni won just her second match at the Australian Open, a whopping 19 years after her first.

Shot of the night

Not too many people can produce a tweener under pressure but Agnieszka Radwanska showed it was not just the men who can do it.

Chasing back a lob, the Pole sent her tweener inside out and the advancing Pironkova could not control the volley. “I watch a lot of men’s tennis,” Radwanska said, “I watch a lot of Roger (Federer) and Nick (Kyrgios) so women can do it as well.

Quote of the night

I already made a big step just coming here. So, you know, my trend has been semis, quarters, fourth, third, second, first round, and then, according to my trend, I should have been in the third-round quallies. Thankfully that did not happen and I'm going the right direction. Caroline Wozniacki, after a 6-1, 6-2 win over Arina Rodionova of Australia.

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