Murray magic runs out, Bautista Agut into last 16

Roberto Bautista Agut edged out Andy Murray (6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4) on Saturday. He’ll face Tommy Paul in the next round

Andy Murray, AO, 2023 MELBOURNE, VIC – JANUARY 21: Andy Murray of the United Kingdom in action during Round 3 of the 2023 Australian Open on January 21 2023, at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)
Australian Open •Third round • completed
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There was no way for Andy Murray to win that match against Roberto Bautista Agut, the No 24 seed who can run for days. And yet, Murray did the impossible out there on Saturday: he made us believe he had one more trick up his sleeve. In the end, logic prevailed but what a battle he had “RBA” go through! Absolutely incredible for a player of 35 years old with a replaced hip who has played over 10 hours on two rounds. And so over 14 hours on three rounds. Bautista Agut yelled his brain out after clinching the win (6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4), showing how rough it had been and being rewarded by one of the infamous Andy Murray stares for it. Bautista Agut, ranked No 25, will face Tommy Paul next.

“Lots of mixed emotions”, Murray said. I mean, I feel like I gave everything that I had to this event. You can’t control how well you’re going to play or the result. You can control the effort that you put into it, and I gave everything that I had in the last three matches. So I’m proud of that. But I’m also disappointed because I put loads of work into the beginning of this year and was playing well enough to have a deep run. I think even tonight I’m competing against a guy 20 in the world, you know, and it’s still very tight considering the circumstances. I’m disappointed because I feel like I could have gone quite a bit further.”

Murray tried everything despite all the odds

The former world No 1 really did threaten to pull off yet another late-night five-set thriller but ultimately the time he had already spent on the court had taken its toll on his legs. Yet it already seemed that way when he was 6-1, 4-2 down in that match! But that’s when Murray started to get into the match. And he left everything he had to make Bautista Agut stay and sweat on that court as long as possible! he came back to take the second set in a frenzy, he was 2-0 up in the fourth set, and he had a 30-0 lead when the Spaniard served for the match at 5-4.

“I slept from 6 until 9 the morning I played the match with Kokkinakis, which obviously isn’t enough. Then I had to come in here. I had about seven or eight blisters that I had to have drained and then he put this liquid in to dry it. I had to come in in the morning to give that time to settle. Then I went back to the hotel, slept for a few hours, and then hit for, like, 15 minutes yesterday. And then just the ice baths, seeing my physio. My feet didn’t feel great. My legs were actually okay. They weren’t too bad. But I was struggling with my lower back. That was affecting my serve. That was really the main thing that I was struggling with today.”

He tried everything despite all the odds being against him. A testament to his entire career. Another reason to respect his incredible journey. Now, even more than ever, nobody really knows where and how it will end as Murray here didn’t look like a player ready to retire, at all!

Melbourne (Grand Slam), other third-round results (Melbourne Park, hard, USD 24.297.942, most recent results first):

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