Andy Murray is AUS at the Australian Open after losing to Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round

Andy Murray is OFF at the Australian Open after losing in the third round to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets – while the struggle against Brite is waning after a total of 14 hours on the court in his three Melbourne games

  • Andy Murray was the last remaining Briton in the singles draw but he’s out now
  • Scot has endured a grueling tournament, playing a total of 14 hours in Melbourne
  • The 35-year-old won the second set in the tiebreak but Bautista Agut triumphed

Andy Murray roared defiance again but bowed to the inevitable when he failed to pull off another Australian Open miracle.

Thirty-nine hours after leaving the court at 4 a.m., he couldn’t hide the aftermath of his first two rounds as he went 6-1, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 against Roberto on the scene of his early hours Bautista Agut escaped.

With Murray both a step too slow and struggling to bend down fully to pick up his water bottle early, he never looked quite in shape to challenge the kind of player that would prove extremely troublesome for anyone in full fitness and lost in three hours and 29 minutes.

Andy Murray has been eliminated from the Australian Open after losing to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round

Andy Murray has been eliminated from the Australian Open after losing to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round

Bautista Agut defeated the 35-year-old Scot to win in four sets against Murray 6-1 6-7 6-3 6-4

Bautista Agut defeated the 35-year-old Scot to win in four sets against Murray 6-1 6-7 6-3 6-4

Not an electricity trader, Bautista Agut is highly mobile with a consistent gameplay that could wear anyone down. Ultimately, it was too much for someone who had played 10 hours and 34 minutes in the middle of the night the previous day.

The harsh reality was that Murray had sealed his own fate through his epic battles. Grand Slams don’t forgive those who struggle in the early rounds.

On his return to Margaret Court Arena the crowd wanted him to continue and he gave everything he had but his intricate patterns couldn’t undo such a solid opponent.

Shortly after he continued running at the start of the night session, it became clear that he would need a long runway for takeoff.

Murray started with a double fault and it didn’t get much better than there for a while, although he valiantly tried to speed up the points. He came on the board 3-0 down, but the 29-minute opener was the fewest number of games he’d scored in a set here since 2016.

It wasn’t until halfway through the second set, warming up like an aging diesel, that he started shifting through the gears. He broke back Bautista-agut while whipping up a partisan crowd desperate for a happy ending to this Melbourne trilogy.

The packed gathering reacted immediately and the 34-year-old Spaniard began making more unforced errors. In the tiebreak, Murray stared into the abyss at 6-4 but managed to pull off excellent combinations including a running backhand pass.

On his second set point, the Scot forced his opponent’s forehand to fail and another comeback was announced.

Bautista-Agut thwarted him here four years ago, giving him another big step closer when Murray’s first serve was utterly let down in game eight of the third that set up a crucial break to make it 5-3.

The five-time finalist looked exhausted and crouched more frequently between points, but he still wasn’t done.

He broke to make it 2-0 only to return it while having to run around the court in a couple of points he felt lost. Then came a decidedly tired game at 4-4 in which he was broken on serve when Bautista slammed away Agut with his trusty baseline method.

She served it straight away, with a slightly perfunctory handshake at the end.

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Maureen Mackey

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