I, like many, hope that isn’t Muzza’s last ever match. For two and a half sets Bautista Agut seemed to be cruising to a straight-sets win before Murray threw caution to the win and very nearly turned it around.
The determination, commitment and skill that we have seen throughout the outstanding Scot’s Career resurfaced and it had everyone on the edge of their seats. He levelled the match at two sets all and at 1-0 and 0/30 on the Spaniards serve in the decider another famous victory was looking on the cards. The crowd were absolutely buzzing for Murray, as you would expect.
It took Bautista to reset and go again to break our hearts. The level of Murray’s play was far higher than what was expected in the circumstances. Once again, he did himself and all of us cheering him on proud. We had plenty of animation, shouting, fist-pumping, shotmaking and drama.
Murray said he “can’t walk properly” after the match and once again stressed how everyday things are now painful and difficult to do. He says he will make a decision on surgery in the next week or two. For our sake, let us hope it is not the last time we see all of this. If it is, then the pleasure has been all mine. LEGEND.
Elsewhere in the men’s, Federer cruised past Denis Istomin without breaking a sweat and Marin Cilic handled a nasty looking match with Bernie Tomic, both winning in straights. Rafa showed us all the new service action in disposing of James Duckworth in a competitive three sets. Duckworth went for it today.
Kevin Anderson dropped the second set against Adrian Mannarino but then lost only three more games. Typically solid from Kev, youngster Frances Tiafoe next up. One of my bigger price tips in John Isner lost in four breakers to fellow countryman Reilly Opelka. A disappointing effort all told.
On Brit watch, Kyle Edmund looked below- par, having come back from a knee injury. Tomas Berdych hammered him in straights. The Czech looks to be finding his feet again. Dan Evans did beat Tatsuma Ito in the battle of the qualifiers. As a big fan of Evo, this is a very important result, his first win in a slam since the ban. Keep going pal. It doesn’t get much easier against the Fed-Express in the second round. The Brummie lad will have zero pressure though, as this event will be deemed a success already. Evo also looks to be a ‘bigger unit’ to me, props.
Other winners included Karen Khachanov, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alex De Minaur, Diego Schwartzman and Grigor Dimitrov, who beat an old flame from the past in Janko Tipsarevic.
In the Women’s, one of my tips, Julia Goerges has fallen at the first hurdle. She served for the match at 6/5 in the second set against Danielle Collins but ended up losing in three. It sounds like Goerges struggled with the heat and this is something I need to make a mental note of to myself. I might be wrong but I am sure she struggled against Cornet last year in Melbourne, don’t quote me on that though.
Last years Champion, Caroline Wozniacki beat Alison Van Uytvanck. This could have been a tricky one but the Dane served well and didn’t drop her delivery in the 6/3 6/4 victory. She is enjoying coming back as defending champion and says she has “incredible memories” from Melbourne. She seems very relaxed all in all, Johanna Larsson is next on the list.
Petra Kvitova continued on from her run in Sydney as she beat Maggie Rybarikova 6/3 6/2. A nice assertive start that from Petra, who will play Irina Camelia-Begu next. The Romanian went through to the second round after Andrea Petkovic retired a set to the good. Petkovic went to her hands and knees and then rolled onto her back on the court before getting treatment and retiring. The German said she had suffered from flu last week. Second seed Angie Kerber beat an error-strewn Polona Hercog and Donna Vekic also beat Kristina Mladenovic, who still lacks any real confidence.
Out of the British Players, Harriet Dart will be disappointed with her effort on Rod Laver Arena against Sharapova. It just didn’t work for her. The same can be said for Heather Watson, who said she will have to make ‘changes’ after her comfortable defeat to Petra Martic. Katie Boulter did win though, she beat Ekaterina Makarova, a player who has a decent record in Melbourne. It was the Russians first match since October but this is still a good win. Boulter took the final set breaker 10-6. She thought she had won at 7-4, thus celebrated twice. The Brit will now face Aryna Sabalenka in the next round. The Belarussian steamrolled past Anna Kalinskaya at the first hurdle.
Other Winners were Ash Barty, who is carrying on from her runners-up spot last week in Sydney, Sloane Stephens, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Kiki Bertens and Anett Kontaveit.
Andy Del Potro