MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14: Andy Murray of Great Britain thanks the crowd after losing his first round match against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain during day one of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Tennis | US Open 2020| Murray lost, but tennis needs him, rain stops Evans
After the monumental first-round comeback win, Andy Murray evidently struggled to hold. That inspiring victory took his toll on his bodyand he was left just with his competitive spirit to fight Felix Auger-Aliassime. The No.15 seed, the youngest to break into the Top 25 sinceLleyton Hewitt in 1999, came to watch on the Arthur Ashe stadium as a child, nine years ago. This time, he showed no emotion as he hit 52 winners to complete a dominant straight-sets victory. He cracked 24 aces without a break point against the former World No.1, a three-time Grand Slam champion.
The Canadian has played five Tour-level finals and suffered first-round losses in three of his four previous appearances at a Grand Slam tournament. Aiming to reach the second week at a major for the first time, he now awaits No. 23 seed Dan Evans and Corentin Moutet, who who could revive a rivalry against the Canadian that dates back to their junior days. The Frenchman led 4-6, 6-3, 6-5 before rain forced the organisers to suspend the game for the night.
Murray lacked speed and agility, a clear and understandable after-effect of his epic comeback win over Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round. The Canadian, instead, used his imposing serve to establish himself in a commanding position since the opening set. He fired eight aces, dropped just a single first-serve point and looked as much threatening on Murray’s second deliveries.
Both players held to 4-3 in the second, but the pattern remained the same, as Auger-Aliassime took the initiative in baseline rallies while Murray was forced to defend. The lone break suffered in the eight game became an ominous sign for the Brit.
His chances to complete a second and definitely more impressive comeback from two-sets down were nullified from the Canadian’s aggressive game.
Murray managed nine winners and committed 20 unforced errors in a one-sided clash but he can take a lot of positives from his two weeks in New York. He showed that he can play vintage tennis, proactive off both sides from the baseline. Today it was not enough to upset Auger-Aliassime, but clearly tennis needs him.
He told reporters, after the match: “Physically, I actually did pretty well I thought in the first round. But I think the more tournaments that you play, the more matches that you play, you build up that sort of robustness in your body which right now I don’t really have.”
“The No. 1 priority for me was that my hip was good, and it coped really well with a five-set match. Which lots of people, myself included, weren’t sure how I was going to do with that and actually coped relatively well the other day against a very tough opponent. So that was positive.
“But to build up — I feel like I’m back at square one, like, having not played in slams for a few years I need to build up my body and my physical conditioning so that I have the ability to back up five-set matches.”
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