Roberto Bautista Agut and Andy Murray met again at the Australian Open. Four years after the British announced to the world that the 2019 edition would probably be the last that he would play in Melbourne. Far from being a goodbye, they have seen each other four more times since then.
The last one, this same Saturday in the third round of the Australian Open, where Bautista managed to win 6-1, 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and 29 minutes. In January 2019, the Spaniard recorded all his duels against Murray by defeat (0-3).
Since that match with the flavor of a farewell that was not, Bautista has won his next four matches to command the ATP Head2Head 4-3. It is the fifth time in his career that the man from Castellón has reached the second week at Melbourne Park.
Murray entered the event with 10 hours and 34 minutes left, after playing ten sets until the third round. Bautista, for his part, had needed almost six hours less to travel the same path. And that was something that translated from the start of the crash.
The Spaniard was fresher both physically and mentally, without giving a single concession to his rival. Of the first 16 points at stake, he won 14. And in just 29 minutes, he secured the first set 6-1. Bautista's dominance continued in the second round, quickly placing himself with a break lead (3-1).
When he was at his worst, Murray allied himself with the crowd at the Margaret Court Arena to find strength that he seemed to lack. He not only rescued the lost advantage (4-4), but also ended up saving two set points in the tie-break to equalize the match.
Andy Murray spent just over 14 hours on the court
Andy Murray has had to make numerous sacrifices over the past couple of years, including putting in extra effort during his training sessions. "I think obviously you never know exactly when the end is going to be.
I would like to go out playing tennis like this, where I'm competing with the best players in the world in the biggest events and doing myself justice," Andy Murray said. "There were maybe times last year or so where I didn't really feel like I was playing well, and I didn't enjoy the way that I was playing.
Yeah, those sacrifices and that effort that I put in allowed me to get through those matches and play at a high level that I think was entertaining for the people watching," he said. "I can have a deeper run than the third round of a Slam, there's no question about that.
Obviously draws can open up for you. I need to also help myself with that. If I was playing at this level last year, I probably wouldn't be ranked 50, 60 in the world. It's up to me to try and change that," he concluded.