Andy Murray is OUT of the Australian Open after losing in four sets to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round – as battling Brit wilts after a tiring total of 14 hours of on-court action over his three matches in Melbourne
- Andy Murray was the last remaining Brit in the singles draw but he is now out
- Scot has endured a gruelling tournament, playing total of 14 hours in Melbourne
- The 35-year-old won the second set on a tie-break but Bautista Agut triumphed
Andy Murray roared defiance once again but bowed to the inevitable when he was unable to pull off another Australian Open miracle.
Thirty nine hours after walking off court at 4am, he could not disguise the after effects of his first two rounds as he went down 6-1 6-7 6-3 6-4 to Roberto Bautista Agut back at the scene of his early hours escape.
With Murray both a step slow struggling to fully bend to pick up his water bottle early, he never quite looked in shape to challenge the kind of player who would prove highly troublesome to anyone in full fitness, and lost in three hours and 29 minutes.
Andy Murray has been knocked out of the Australian Open after losing to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round
Bautista Agut overcame the 35-year-old Scot and won in four sets, beating Murray 6-1 6-7 6-3 6-4
Bautista Agut is not a power merchant, but highly mobile with a consistent game that could wear anyone down. Ultimately he was too much for a someone who had played for ten hours and 34 minutes into the middle of the night the previous day.
The harsh reality was that Murray had sealed his own fate by his epic struggles. Grand Slams are unforgiving on those who labour through the early rounds.
On his return to the Margaret Court Arena the crowd willed him on and he gave everything he had in return, but his intricate patterns could not undo such a solid opponent.
Sooon after walking on for the start of the night session it became clear that he was going to need a long runway for take-off.
Murray began with a double fault and it did not get much better than there for a while, even though he gamely tried to quicken the points. He got on the board at 0-3 down but the 29-minute opener was the least number of games he had achieved in one set here since 2016.
Murray waved fans goodbye after receiving a standing ovation for what was a sensational effort from the Scot in Melbourne
Only halfway through the second set, warming up like an ageing diesel, did he start moving through the gears. He broke Bautista-Agut back while whipping up a partisan crowd desperate for a happy end to this Melbourne trilogy.
The packed assembly responded in kind and the 34 year-old Spaniard began to make more unforced errors. In the tiebreak Murray found himself staring into the abyss at 6-4, but managed to put together superb combinations including a running backhand pass.
On his second set point the Scot forced a forehand from his opponent to go awry and another comeback looked on.
Bautista-Agut thwarted him here four years ago, and went a long way towards doing so again when Murray’s first serve completely failed him in the eighth game of the third, which saw a decisive break for 5-3.
The five-times finalist looked winded, going down on his haunches more frequently between points, but he was still not finished.
He broke for 2-0, only to surrender it back while being reduced to walking around the court on some points that he deemed lost causes. Then came a distinctly weary game at 4-4 which saw him broken to love as Bautista Agut plugged away using his reliable baseline method.
Her served it out at the first time of asking, with a somewhat perfunctory handshake at the end.