By: Gyang Dakwo
Britain’s Andy Murray has been knocked out of the Australian Open at the third-round stage after a battling 1-6 7-6(7) 3-6 4-6 loss to Roberto Bautista Agut on Margaret Court Arena in a match of staggering quality.
Murray, who had already come through two five-set marathons against Thanasi Kokkinakis and Matteo Berrettini in rounds one and two, lost the first set comprehensively but fought back to level the match after a second-set tie-break.
However, with the next set – and the match finely poised – Bautista Agut secured the decisive break in the eighth game before opening up a 2-1 lead.
While Murray broke early in the fourth, the Brit could not work another miracle fightback.
Bautista Agut broke back immediately and then secured the decisive break of the set – and the match – in the ninth game before serving it out.
“I gave everything I had in the last three matches so I’m very proud of that,” said Murray in his post-match press conference.
“But I’m also disappointed because I’ve put loads of work into the beginning of this year and was playing well enough to have a really good run, a deep run.”
Bautista Agut will face Tommy Paul at the last-16 stage after he beat Jenson Brooksby in straight sets.
The result means Novak Djokovic is the only major winner left in the draw that has seen a host of big names – including Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev – knocked out ahead of the last-16 stage.