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Andy Murray out despite heroic effort against Roberto Bautista Agut

Murray out despite heroic effort against Bautista Agut
By Eurosport

14/01/2019 at 12:00Updated 14/01/2019 at 15:08

Andy Murray produced a performance that belied his physical limitations but ultimately lost to Roberto Bautista Agut, going down 6-4 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7(4) 6-2.

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The 31-year-old fought back from two sets and a break down to force a decider but Bautista Agut managed to hold his nerve to seal his spot in round two, where he will face home hope John Millman.

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Hip surgery a year ago has left the three-time Grand Slam champion in severe pain and Murray, 31, said last week that the year's first Grand Slam could be his last tournament.

However, the five-time Australian Open finalist showed remarkable levels of tenacity to push his dogged opponent all the way in a performance that defied the hip injury that looks set to cut his career short. Murray's resilient display was roared on by the Melbourne crowd on an emotionally-charged night.

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00:39

In Bautista Agut, Murray found himself drawn against a player with remarkable levels of endurance, and ultimately, after a wobble, the Spaniard’s superior mobility paid dividends after a match that lasted four hours and 14 minutes.

Afterwards a visibly emotional Murray thanked a packed Melbourne Arena but left the door ajar for another improbable comeback.

“It [the atmosphere] was incredible, thank you so, so much to everyone who came out tonight.

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“I’ve honestly loved playing here over the years, it’s an amazing place to play tennis.

" If this was my last match it’s an amazing way to end it – I gave it everything."

“Maybe I’ll see you again – I'll do everything possible to try but I'll have to have a big operation that there’s no guarantee I can come back from,” added Murray.

“But I’ll give it my best shot.”

Video - Highlights: Murray's magnificent comeback halted by Bautista Agut

02:58

There were periods of vintage Murray against the world number 24 Bautista Agut and the double Olympic gold medalist sent their match to a fifth and deciding set as his opponent wilted, losing sets three and four on tie-breaks as the Brit, cheered on a by a boisterous crowd, built momentum.

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Ultimately, though, an improbable comeback was beyond Murray’s grasp, going down in five sets to Bautista Agut, who broke the serve of Murray twice in a one-sided final set.

With additional reporting from agencies

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