Andy Murray lost his first round match at the Australian Open to Roberto Bautista Agut, in what could be the final match of his career as he contemplates retirement due to a chronic hip injury. Andy Murray v Roberto Bautista Agut: Australian Open 2019 – live! Read more Murray battled but despite battling back to…
Murray battled but despite battling back to two sets-all, he was defeated 6-4 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7 (4) 6-2, by Bautista Agut, to whom he has never previously lost but his failing fitness saw the three-time grand slam winner go out.
Murray began looking much better than he had in his practice match against Novak Djokovic on Thursday. He was sending down serves at a good pace and moving OK, particularly out to his backhand, although the forehand remained a problem.
It was a difficult situation for 22nd seed Bautista Agut and Murray produced some fine play to set up a break point in the eighth game but could not take it.
And the following game, with Murray’s ever-present limp more in evidence, a netted forehand gave the Spaniard the advantage, and Bautista Agut served out the set 6-4.
Murray stepped up again at the start of the second set, forcing two break points in the second game. But he could not take either and Bautista Agut broke through again in the fifth game, with Murray simply making too many errors to match his metronomic opponent.
The Scot battled gamely but to no avail and an ace from Bautista Agut clinched the second set 6-4.
Murray’s serve was broken in the third game of the third set, but he immediately broke back to give some hope that he might extend the encounter, and had a set point at 5-4 but could not see it out and allowed Bautista Agut to take it to a tiebreak.
Murray opened a 4-1 lead before Bautista Agut attempted to test his injured hip by making him run, then fighting back to 5-4. But the Spaniard hit long to offer the Briton two set points – he blew the first then took the second to take the tiebreak 7-5.
The fourth set went with serve, requiring another tiebreak to separate the players. Murray, celebrating every point as he opened a dominant 6-1 lead. But Bautista Agut fought back to 6-4 before Murray eventually levelled the match at two sets all.
Bautista Agut broke Murray early in the deciding set and, with the former world No 1 appearing in pain as the set progressed, the Spaniard broke him again to go 4-1 up. As Murray hobbled Bautista Agut went in for the kill, seeing out the match – and possibly Murray’s career – to win the final set 6-2.