Andy Murray vs Roberto Bautista Agut LIVE – Australian Open 2019 latest updates, what time does it start, news, odds and prediction
Follow the latest updates from Andy Murray’s Australian Open first-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut in what could be the final match of his career. Murray begins his campaign in Melbourne contemplating retirement due to the persistent hip injury that has blighted him for more than two years, with the three-time Grand Slam champion admitting…
Murray begins his campaign in Melbourne contemplating retirement due to the persistent hip injury that has blighted him for more than two years, with the three-time Grand Slam champion admitting last week that he will retire in 2019, hopefully after one last outing at Wimbledon in the summer.
Brilliant. Brilliant from both players as the longest rally of the match sees both men dig deep to keep the point alive. Bautista Agut again forces Murray wide, and when he is forced to defend with a high lob, the 22nd seed rushes in to smash home the winner. The crowd applaud both, but it was a lot of energy exerted from Murray for no return. The one positive is the fight is still there.
There’s a spot of confusion with Murray 30-15 ahead as he stops playing a point, only for the linejudge to call it in. The umpire disagrees and overrules, but with no call made the point has to be replayed. Somewhat frustrated, Murray fires a beautiful ace, and another strong serve gives him the hold.
Again, Murray hits into the net when defending from deep and his best chance to attack Bautista Agut’s serve appears to be by coming in close. Bautista Agut hammers one long to let Murray in, before the Briton chips wide after being put under pressure.
40-15 down, Murray fires a double-handed backhand down the line to raucous applause, but after a monster rally Murray loops one long and Bautista Agut holds.
Murray leaves a return short that cannons into the top of the net, and does exactly the same on the next point after a long rally that suggests the longer the points run, the harder it will become for Murray.
0-30 down, Murray needs to dig deep to save the game, and he makes a slog of the third point in the longest rally yet, but Bautista Agut misses the tramline and his challenge is unsuccessful. Murray follows up with forcing the error and Bob’s your uncle, it’s 30-30.
Murray makes the bold choice to leave a cross-court effort, and it’s perfectly judged as the ball floats long, and when Bautista Agut returns into the net Murray punches the air after a strong save.
Murray is playing well behind the baseline, but continues to go for winners when they present themselves. Unfortunately this one is pushed long too, but if he can start to take these chances he can get himself into position to challenge the Bautista Agut serve.
The second point is another lengthy rally that despite good movement from Murray, he can’t get the racket round in time to fire the ball back over the net, and Bautista Agut emphatically hammers home a volley on the third point to move to 40-0.
Murray takes the next point when he forces the Spaniard into a lob shot that goes well long, but the same is replicated against him and Bautista Agut holds.
Every point that Murray wins is being loudly applauded by the fans, and two powerful serves are followed by an ace that gives Murray a comfortable 40-0 advantage.
You get the idea that if Murray is to have any chance of winning this match, his first serve will be hugely important, and that proves true when he holds-to-love. Good stuff from the three-time Slam champion.
Two unreturned serves from Bautista Agut quickly puts him 30-0 up, and although he’s pushing the first serve to try and force Murray wide, he’s looking in good nick.
Murray gets himself into the third point and goes for a cross-court winner, and when the “OUT” call comes he challenges immediately. There’s a whisker in it, but it’s the correct call and Murray follows up bu firing an easy winner long for Bautista Agut to hold-to-love.
Murray looks mobile enough on the opening point as he engages in a strong rally, but when he goes for a winner down the right tramline he pushes it long and Baustista Agut seizes the early advantage.
The response is good, with the next serve unreturned before being followed by an ace, but when the Spaniard forces him wide Murray is nowhere near making the return and that’s a worry. Murray wins the next point with an unforced error from Bautista Agut, and when he fires his return into the net Murray takes the first game.
He’s able to get into a light job as he hits overhead volleys back to Bautista Agut, but this of course is only the warm-up and will be nothing compared to what he will be required to do when the match kicks of…which is a matter of moments away.
Strap yourselves in, the possible Andy Murray farewell begins now.
We’re having to wait for Murray at the moment as the man who replaced him as British No 1, Kyle Edmund, is currently trying to make a fight of it against Tomas Berdych.
Edmund made a horrendously slow start as he lost the first set 6-3 before being beaten 6-0 in the second, but as they approach the end of the third, Edmund is 6-5 behind and needing to break Berdych’s serve to keep the tie alive.
Once the match is complete, we’ll hopefully see Murray and Bautista Agut emerge onto the Hisense Arena – I say hopefully because Murray is not looking too mobile in the warm-up area.
Has there been a more important first round match?
Monday morning’s encounter between Andy Murray and Roberto Bautista Agut could well be the last time we see one of the greatest British tennis players in history on court, with Murray considering retirement from the sport after the opening Grand Slam of the year.
In a tearful and emotional press conference last week, Murray revealed that he plans to retire this year regardless of what happens, though that announcement could come either after Wimbledon in the summer, or here in Melbourne depending on how painful his injury gets.
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of today’s Australian Open first-round encounter between Andy Murray and Roberto Bautista Agut.
The match is all the more important given that it could be Murray’s final outing of his career, with the three-time Grand Slam winner considering retirement as he continues to struggle with a debilitating hip injury that ruled him out of the majority of 2017.
Murray plans to try and battle through the pain to retire after Wimbledon in the summer, but last week he admitted that that may be impossible for him to do so and that he may call it quits once his Australian Open campaign comes to an end.
Jack de Menezes
14 January 2019 07:03
Please allow a moment for the blog to load.
What time does it start?
Murray vs Bautista Agut is due to begin not before 7am, and more likely to be around an 8am start once Kyle Edmund’s match against Tomas Berdych has completed.