DEJECTED Andy Murray was unable to supply a third consecutive Herculean show as he was eradicated from the Australian Open by chief tormentor Roberto Bautista Agut.
This time there was no repeat from the 35-year-old of the sensational endeavours seen in the previous two rollercoaster matches this week in Melbourne.
Hopes of witnessing one other spectacular five-set thriller have been dashed by the spoilsport Spaniard in this punishing third-round tie.
Agut, not one of probably the most glamorous stars on the Tour, did what he does greatest and calmly went about his enterprise earlier than prevailing 6-1 6-7 6-3 6-4 in near three-and-a-half hours.
Murray’s departure signifies that there are not any extra Brits, male or feminine, left in the singles competitors of the primary main of 2023.
This assembly with Agut, 34, introduced again reminiscences of Murray’s ‘retirement’ battle 4 years in the past on the opposite aspect of Melbourne Park.
After that five-set loss, which everyone thought was the tip of Murray’s illustrious profession, tribute movies have been performed on the massive screens with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all paying their respects.
Extra idiot us all for pondering that Murray was achieved then as a competitor – the hearth and keenness stay as robust as ever.
It explains why he has stored placing himself via the exhausting yards as a result of he genuinely believes he can go deep on the massive 4 occasions on the calendar.
Simply 39 hours because the conclusion of his epic five-hour 45-minute five-setter in opposition to Thanasi Kokkinakis – the ultimate ball was struck at 4.05am on Friday morning – Murray was again on the Margaret Courtroom Enviornment.
How he had managed to get better, relaxation and refuel from that unprecedented episode – it was the newest end of his profession and longest-ever efficiency would make the distinction this time in opposition to the Spanish grinder.
Being damaged in his opening service sport with out scoring some extent – his opening serve was a double fault – didn’t precisely bode properly.
Within the first set, the previous world No1’s drop pictures weren’t working and his ordinary zip and energy in the forehand was visibly missing as he went down one-nil in lower than half an hour.
Certainly the three double faults in the opening seven video games have been the identical he had had in all the match in opposition to South Australian Kokkinakis.
When he misplaced his serve in sport three of the second set, he grazed his racquet on the court docket and screamed out in anger – however in a means that was the spark he wanted.
The extra he began to shake his fist and scream on the punters for some kind of encouragement, the extra they responded and the higher he began taking part in.
And after Murray saved two set factors in the tie-break, the group have been up on their toes when Agut’s forehand stung the online.
Okay, so the standing ovation was a bit OTT – it was, after all, solely 1-1 apiece – however then the followers had already invested a lot into this tie.
These with the Saltire flags weren’t waving them so vigorously in the eighth sport of the third set when Murray was damaged, simply moments after he wiped seagull poo off the court docket with a towel.
Agut clinched that set with a love-game after which the world No25 got here from 2-0 down in the fourth set, aided by a break in sport 9, to arrange a fourth-round date on Monday with American Tommy Paul.
So, there was no miraculous comeback from the man with the steel hip, who would have thought of what he may have achieved if he had had extra relaxation time.
The final event Murray reached the final 16 of one of the 4 Slams was Wimbledon 2017 – which was 18 months pre-hip surgical procedure – and one wonders if he’ll ever be capable of go that far once more on the highest stage.
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