Murray Falls In Thrilling Final Australian Open Match; Federer, Nadal Advance
by Staff | January 14th, 2019, 9:01 am

Andy Murray was the story of the day at the Australian Open. The soon-to-be-retired Scot played his final match in Melbourne Monday night and in typical Murray fashion, he gave it all he had but just came up short in a tough loss to Doha champion Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(4), 6-2.

“Andy deserve all the people who came to watch him,” Bautista Agut told the crowd. “It was unbelievable match. Really good fight. He’s a tough fighter, tough opponent, he gave everything until the last point.”

Murray had never lost a set to the Spaniard, but hobbled by a bad right hip, the odds were not is his favor tonight, and early on, that’s how it went.

Murray played well, much better than he showed in his practice sets last week, but Bautista Agut was rock-solid during the first two hours, dominating off the forehand and winning virtually all of the extended rallies.

Up two sets and with a break, the end was nearing for Murray. That’s when Bautista Agut blinked, got tight and the 10,000-strong crowd in Melbourne Arena got back into it and pushed Murray to a third set tiebreak win.

To the delight of the fans, Murray began moving slightly better while Bautista Agut started to miss more and more in the fourth. And when Murray forced a fifth, it looked like another signature Murray comeback was in store.

But the run fizzled out. With Bautista Agut serving 0-1, 0-30, Murray missed a line and from there the Spaniard seized control and took the match in over four hours.

“I’ve honestly loved playing here over the years. It’s an amazing place to play tennis. If this was my last match, amazing way to end,” Murray said on court, leaving the door slightly open for a return.

“I gave literally everything I had. It wasn’t enough tonight.”

While Murray was fighting, Roger Federer cruised past Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The 37-year-old Federer is trying to win a seventh Australian Open. He’s now won 15 straight in Melbourne.

“I think I brought good energy, good shots, and I was solid overall,” Federer said. “Denis made it tough – he serves well and is a good ball-striker. I’m just really happy to be as healthy and playing as well as I am after another great run last year. It’s just a thrill to be back.”

Earlier in the day, Rafael Nadal dropped serve twice but got through pesky James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.

Nadal, who was playing in his first official tour match since the US Open, showed some rust against the lowly-ranked Duckworth. Nadal fell behind 2-0 in the second and then had his new-look serve broken at love when serving it out at 5-3 in the third.

“When I get broken was not because of the serve,” Nadal said. “I played against a super aggressive player. Today he went on court with the determination to don’t play tennis the way that, you know, I understand tennis. He went on court, you know – is not a negative point. Not at all. Believe me. He went on court probably doing a thing that works well for him, and he gives him some chances.

“And he played smart and he played well. When you play against a player that he wants to hit all the shots, of course you can have breaks against, because you are sometimes in his hands.

“But anyway, my serve worked well. I don’t know my percentage, but was a lot of good positions after the first serve. I felt solid with the second. And in general terms I am happy about the victory of today against, as I said before, a very difficult opponent to play.”

2018 finalist Marin Cilic made his season debut a good one, easing past Bernard Tomic. While Tomic and Duckworth lost, 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur thrilled the locals extending his win streak to six after beating Portuguese journeyman Pedro Sousa 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.

“I’m feeling stoked,” said De Minaur who has won his last 13 sets. “Happy to be able to get away with a win today. It was pretty hot out there, but I thought I managed the conditions really well. Happy to get through in straight sets.”

Grigor Dimitrov made a strong Grand Slam debut with Andre Agassi, overcoming a set down to deny the returning Janko Tisparevic 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

“I’m just a better person, period,” Dimitrov said of Agassi. “On a daily basis, I have learned something new from him.

“I think he also keeps me on point, keeps me on check. He’s just trying to remind you of the good things in life. Of course on the court when we are together, we are really zoomed in, very focused. He’s super intense on the court. We are all like, I mean, on the same page.

“That’s really important. But, I mean, the biggest thing that stands out is that I’m learning something every single day.”

The big upset on the day was a battle of big countrymen with 21-year-old Reilly Opelka withstanding 47 aces from John Isner to beat the veteran in four tiebreakers.

The 6-foot-11 Opelka, who had never previously won a Slam match, smacked 40 aces of his own.

“It’s a big win, yeah, but it’s not like a breakthrough win,” Opelka said. “I’m still barely top 100 so I still have a lot of progress I feel like has to be done, to improve, to continue to get my ranking up.

“Physically, just being healthier, being stronger, just making sure my body doesn’t break down during the year.”

Isner has now lost his last six matches.

Stefanos Tsitsipas was a tough winner over Matteo Berrettini while Tomas Berdych continued his comeback pounding 2018 semifinalist Kyle Edmund.

On Tuesday, 6-time champion Novak Djokovic will be in action against American Mitchell Kruger. Alexander Zverev faces Aljaz Bedene and in the headliner of the schedule, Nick Kyrgios collides with Milos Raonic.

Rod Laver Arena
D. Aiava(WC) v M. Keys(17)
T. Maria v S. Williams(16)
A. Zverev(4) v A. Bedene
From 7:00pm AEDT
N. Djokovic(1) v M. Krueger(Q)
N. Osaka(4) v M. Linette

Margaret Court Arena
From 11:00am AEDT
K. Majchrzak(Q) v K. Nishikori(8)
T. Zidansek v D. Gavrilova
V. Williams v M. Buzarnescu(25)
From 7:00pm AEDT
S. Halep(1) v K. Kanepi
B. Paire v D. Thiem(7)

Melbourne Arena
From 11:00am AEDT
K. Muchova(Q) v Ka. Pliskova(7)
B. Coric(11) v S. Darcis
L. Siegemund v V. Azarenka
S. Stosur v D. Yastremska
Not before 7:00pm AEDT
N. Kyrgios v M. Raonic(16)

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12 Comments for Murray Falls In Thrilling Final Australian Open Match; Federer, Nadal Advance

Madmax Says:


I am proud of your boy. So proud of him! Well done Andy! It is no consolation girls, I know…I am heartbroken for you, but you just never know. You don’t. Miracles happen and there is already a surgeon out there who thinks he can improve Andy’s situation. Listen to his interview, Andy says he is going to try and I am sure that he will.

Keep the faith.

Margot Says:

Such a typical Andy match, coming back from two sets down, two tie breaks and a 5th set decider and even some Murray magic. Dear Andy, you gave it everything in spite of everything. How I’ll miss those Murray roller coasters, the highs making the lows so worthwhile.
Can’t wait to see what you do next! Naughty Nick wants to play doubles with Andy at Wimbledon. How I’d love to see that happen.

SG1 Says:

I think that if Murray’s intention was to come back to tennis, he’d have had the next surgery already. I suspect that the surgery he needs to reduce the pain in his hip will likely prevent him from playing tennis at the pro level again. A very sad situation for one of the best players of his generation.

Of course I hope I’m wrong. I do remember Jose Maria Olazabal at point in his life where he couldn’t walk from his injury but an excellent German doctor helped him and he came back to win the Masters. There’s always some hope.

Being the fighter he is, he made his match count today. I’ve never been a fan of his on-court demeanor but you can’t argue with a guy that’s been to 11 slam finals, won 3 slams, 2 golds and been No.1. I really thought that the year he got to the FO final that he would take his turn and really dominate for a couple of years. Unfortunately, the injuries stopped that from happening.

SG1 Says:

His US Open Final win against Novak in the worst wind conditions I’ve ever seen was one of the best slam finals ever. Andy was tough as nails in that 5th set.

j-kath Says:

Margot: Nick and Andy in doubles – Oh YES!…..even the inter-action would be theatre.

Madmax Says:

Margot and J-Kath – this video from the Guardian is a treat….and it will bring some joy to your heart. When you get to Zerev (last voice), listen to him. He put the record straight.

Not saying that Andy is perfect, but this is not the time to be talking about negative to see the light and got to believe in the medicine available, if he does have surgery again – let’s see, a year from now, he is still young. I will keep the belief for you. I will.

j-kath Says:


Thanks for your post. Margot, Willow and myself – being Brits. are subject to a montage of videos on Andy from many of our TV stations and our newspapers including the Guardian – the only subject replacing him is BREXIT which is poised for an almighty historic debate and vote today. PS: Andy’s “Youth Development”
programmes are reportedly troubled by possible withdrawal of funding support in the future.
Cheers, K.

PK Says:

Just thinking about Murray – and his career.

One aspect of Murray’s career that few have mentioned is the way he dealt with the enormous weight of expectation. He was obviously the most gifted British player since the 1930s and there was, pretty much from the beginning, “the sky is the limit” perspective. Here was the player that would finally end the drought that Tim Henman only managed to underline in his career that came up short, again and again. Imagine the pressure, especially at Wimbledon, that he must have felt – and played under, yet kept his career tracked in until he did break through, win Slams and become #1. That’s remarkable!

I was also very impressed how well he worked with Mauresmo as his coach, taking a lot of flak for working with a “woman,” albeit a woman that also won Slams and played at the highest level of the game. That takes guts and a clear eye as well.

Back to expectations: to put it into perspective, Federer, coming from Switzerland was all gravy to the Swiss, there were never these crazed expectations to “resurrect Swiss honor on the court” or similar BS. Sure, this tiny country was already spoiled by a teenage Martina Hingis that had already run the table and won everything she could before Roger started piling up the trophies, but he could play free, knowing that the best Swiss players before him – Marc Rosset and Jakob Hlasek – were not more than footnotes in the history of the open era of tennis. I wonder if Andy could have had a different career if he had been from, say, Norway or Belgium?

Bottom line, he’s the first of the Big Four to leave the stage. However, Nadal and Federer are probably not far behind, especially Nadal, whose body is in pretty bad shape too. Djokovic is the youngest in the group, and easily the strongest player today, but he’s also over 30. There’s sure to be a lot of nostalgia and tributes coming in the tennis pipeline this year and in the next few years! We should watch carefully – and appreciate what an incredible generation of players is about to pass.

j-kath Says:

PK: There’s only 2 weeks difference in age between Andy and Novak – but alas there’s an enormous difference in physical terms.

rognadfan Says:

PK @845 am
Your about Murray’s handling expectations is spot on, at least to me. But In the world stage (i.e., outside of britain) people didn’t put the same level of hope from him. Not because he wasn’t gifted, but he entered the arena that was dominated by other greats that were too dominant for anyone to imagine a new guy would topple them shortly. The British of ‘pride’ or whatever of course didn’t care about that; he was the best that got in about a century. Anyway, I doubt he would’ve done any better if he was from other countries.

your point about the age difference between Nole and Andy again brings a familiar thought I get whenever I think about Andy.

The thing is Nole didn’t have to change his approach to the game to be better, he just had to strengthen his mentality and practice his shots.
Murray on the other hand had to switch his brain midway through his career when people started questioning his defense oriented approach to game as he lost those 4 finals.
As a result, he may have internally put more strain to select parts of his body while trying to be more aggressive (like hitting more powerful FH for example). On an amateur level, I can attest to such injuries when you change some aspect of your game because you are doing something that is not what your muscle-memory says leading to more strain to the body.
Nole other hand, didn’t have to do that kind of shifting. He was aggressive minded guy with a great defense and a rather slight self-doubt about his physical strength (gluten alergy??). Once that sorted out, all he had to do was strengthen his already trained muscles not force his mind to remember to a winner quicker or hit a bigger forehand.
Anyway I feel like I have been bringing this in way too many post about Murray now, but that’s my feeling about this sad situation.

Madmax Says:


Yeah, I know, plenty of videos out there…but not sure you saw it, and as this one had elements of dry humour in it, from Salep and Zverev, thought we could all do with a bit of that – especially you and Margot. Would be a huge shame if Murray’s fans left the building – hard though it must be, and although Murray is official retiring at Wimby later on the year, who is to say that a new op, for the hip, cannot be pioneered – we just don’t know J-Kath, no one does.

One thing for sure, His send off will be both awesome, terribly sad, but also a celebration – the brits, stiff upper lip and all of that. I had always thought that Fed would retire this year at Wimbledon as it was his first slam there, he would want to return where it all began, and am certain now, that he won’t because you cannot split two farewells at Wimbledon, Murray and Fed – but may be they will do it, pairing up!

God forbid. God Forbid, though who knows? No one.

I hope in some way you can enjoy the tournaments to come; though it must be difficult. I cannot imagine, you both though have a wealth of tennis knowledge so I do think you need to share that J-Kath and Margot, otherwise that would be a loss here.

j-kath Says:

Rognadfan: Not contesting your post but in addition to Andy moving from defence to offence – I often think of the disability he was born with e.g. around his knee (forgotten what you call it)- also he was a gangly, skinny youth for quite some time and to build stamina he had to virtually re-build his body. Novak didn’t need to – he was born an athlete – virtually he could play tennis standing on his head. (My elder sister & I were sent to Highland dancing and to Gymnastics – she was a Novak – double-jointed/could do the splits effortlessly/walk on her hands/danced like a fairy…Me? I tried and tried but my body was not designed for it…). C’est la vie!
Madmax: Yes, saw the Guardian – and countless other pictures and repeats, repeats…..and it’s still going. One of my sisters is an avid Andy fan and she hasn’t stopped crying yet…she sends me emails every day….we may go to Wimbledon.

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