Australian Open (Men)
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For his last Australian Open, the Scotsman, always in great delicacy with his hip, has resisted rather than adequately solid Roberto Bautista Agut, pushing him in five sets to courage (6-4, 6-4, 6-7 , 6-7 6-2). But the body at its limits …
With the standing ovation noisy waiting for him when he entered the Melbourne arena, Andy Murray was able to measure that his popularity index, contrary to his physical condition, was at its zenith. Since the Briton announced that he would finish his career this year and that this Australian Open could also be his last tournament, since his hip makes him suffer despite the surgery in 2018, the his first turn had taken on an unexpected dimension of sample of receipts. Would he have been able to normally defend his chances against one of the most formidable players of the season, Roberto Bautista Agut?
It is rather the Spaniard, Djokovic's marker in Doha two weeks ago, who brought the game to his entry account. The Scot has placed himself in resistance mode, to the point to get the first break point of the game, to 4-3. His backhand on the net would have cost him dear as he was relinquishing his commitment to the next game, and the set moving. Extremely efficient at service, not so limited in appearance in most of his travels, he got a new break point at the start of the second set, which would allow him to lead 2-0. Lost also
After 1:11 of the match, Bautista had completed halfway through the race (6-4, 3-2, break) while Murray was whipping, he clung but he had trouble getting the final word against a player on top of his physical means and his trust. Time obviously does not play in favor of the former number one in the world, his own body language heard little by little. The inversion and the service kept it more or less afloat, but the grimaces and the truncated ends began to multiply. After an hour and a half, his cause seemed to be heard (6-4, 6-4).
A fight of 4:09
In the third inning, the break came even earlier, from the third game, with the means on board, impossible, apparently, to break the rock that is currently Bautista. Except that Murray could not surrender without rebellion. It was a bit more pressing and managed to break up after a very big change, ended with a chained, cushioned line (3-3). Sir Andy then raised his arms and called the crowd to protest, even to win a few seconds of recovery. After losing a 5-4 set ball, he went for the turn with courage, helped by big raw balls, after a controlled tie-break.
The fourth set remained very balanced, with no occasion for the raisers. And Murray did not let go of his bone in the second tie-break. Two sleeves everywhere! The night was advancing, the audience was in a trance but the Scot had no fuel. A bit tighter in the tie-break, Bautista did not mentally break in the fifth, at 23 hours (6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2 in 4:09). Andy Murray, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, has forced admiration on Monday, but will never win the Australian Open. Where will we see it now? And in what state?