Australian Open viewer outrage as Christopher O’Connell vs. Cristian Garin taken off free to air

Aussie World No. 71 Christopher O’Connell survived a more than four hour marathon to down World No. 88 Cristian Garin in a five-set thriller at the Australian Open.

O’Connell lost the first set and fought back from being down two sets to one, coming back to win 3-6 7-5 4-6 6-1 7-5 in an opening round nailbiter.

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The Aussie got his nose ahead in the fifth set but was broken to make it 5-all before immediately breaking back.

The 29-year-old was then able to serve out the match.

The result took over four hours but O’Connell will now get two days off before his next clash against the winner of 16th seed Ben Shelton and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Despite his immense heroics in fighting back and claiming the opening round victory, local fans were left seeing red.

O’Connell’s match against Garin was being played live on free-to-air television on Channel 9 before switching to the news.

Following the news the broadcast came back to the action on Rod Laver Arena which was of world number one Novak Djokovic going up against 18-year-old Dino Prizmic.

While every court of the Australian Open can be streamed on 9Now and Stan Sport, the switch to go away from O’Connell’s match that had entered a deciding fifth set didn’t sit well with those watching the free to air broadcast.

O’Connell was full of praise for his opponent following the encounter and said the conditions on the outside court took a lot longer to adjust to.

“It was quite windy early on. He’s got such amazing footwork and I think he played a little bit better in the wind than I did,” O’Connell said.

“I was struggling just to get set and hit quality shots.

“It’s quite swirly on that court, it didn’t come from one direction. I dropped back as the match went on, played more clay-court type tennis and I think that helped me a little bit.”

While it looked like Garin may have one last fight back in him, the Aussie held his nerve and served out the match.

“I was super confident I was just going to serve it out,” O’Connell said. “I started finding rhythm in my serve, the wind died down – that mucked me up earlier.

“He jagged back a break and then I got a second opportunity to serve it out and I somehow did it, even though I faced a break point.”

It was a mixed day for Australia after wildcard Jason Kubler fell in a 4hr59m epic against Colombian World No. 89 Daniel Elahi Galan in an absolute marathon on the opening night of the Australian Open.

The World No. 112 Kubler and Galan could not be split before a fifth set super tie break.

It finally looked like Galan had raced away for a win when he opened up a 7-2 lead, but the Aussie hit back to lock it all up at 7-all.

Unfortunately, that was about all he had left, as Galan won the next two points, and even though Kubler pulled one back, an unforced error saw the Colombian come out victorious.

It means just one of the four Aussies in action today has made it through to the next round with O’Connell the only victor.

Dane Sweeny also went down in five-sets while Alex Walton was vanquished in straight sets.

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