Four years after an incredible duel at Melbourne Park, Roberto Bautista Agut and Andy Murray met again in the third round. The Briton survived two fantastic matches in the previous rounds, losing steam but giving his everything in a 6-1, 6-7, 6-3, 7-4 loss after three and a half hours.
Roberto made a great start against a tired opponent and stayed focused after dropping the second set in a thriller. Thus, the 24th seed will compete in the fourth round for the fifth time, seeking his second Australian Open quarter-final.
Murray served at 60%, and more was required to stay competitive. The Briton sprayed 50 unforced errors and got broken six times from 14 chances offered to his opponent. The Spaniard failed to save two break points, but that could not halt his progress after making a fresh start from the third set.
Roberto had a massive advantage in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, taking charge and breaking Andy's resistance for a place in the last 16.
Andy Murray lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets.
Bautista Agut made a flying start and grabbed 14 of the first 15 points.
He painted a backhand down the line winner in game two for a break at love and served well to confirm it. The Spaniard landed a perfect backhand lob winner in the sixth game to grab his second break. Roberto held at love at 5-1 to wrap up the opener in under half an hour.
The Briton hit a double fault at 1-1 in the second set, frustrated about playing miles below his best. Andy saved a break point in game seven and avoided an even more significant deficit. Suddenly, Murray broke back at love in game eight after the rival's loose forehand to lock the result at 4-4 and gain a boost.
Andy defended a break point in game 11 and survived until the tie break. The Briton fended off two set points at 4-6, and they extended the battle for four more points. Andy defended nicely at 8-7 and drew the opponent's forehand error to wrap up the set and start all over after an hour and 47 minutes!
Both players served well in the third set's opening seven games before Bautista Agut clinched the third break point at 4-3 after Murray's tired backhand. The Spaniard served for the set in game nine and held at love to wrap it up 6-3 and move closer to the finish line.
Andy made an early break in the fourth set and kept it only for a few minutes. Bautista Agut served well in the rest of the set and kept the pressure on a three-time Major winner. Andy survived until 4-4 before facing three break points in game nine.
He sprayed an error on the first to push Roberto in front and read the writings on the wall. The Spaniard served for the victory at 5-4 and fired a service winner to emerge at the top and send the Briton out of the competition following a valiant effort.