Melbourne (Australia), 21 Jan. The Spanish Roberto Bautista (24) finished with a combative Andy Murray, by a tight 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-3 and 6-4, to seal his pass to the round of 16 of the Open of Australia.
The only Spanish representative with options in the draw will face American Tommy Paul in the next round.
“Always playing against Andy is hard because he knows the game very well and these situations in ‘slams’. I am very happy with the victory,” he commented on the Margaret Court Arena after closing a battle after three and a half hours.
“Today there was a lot of love for him. Maybe in the next round there will be something more for me, ”he commented on a crowd that unconditionally encouraged the Scotsman and came to celebrate before the man from Castellón made the mistake in some sections of the third set.
Bautista became the fourth Spaniard to qualify for the round of 16 at Melbourne Park for the fifth time. He joined the exploits of his compatriots Rafael Nadal (15), David Ferrer (9) and Tommy Robredo (5).
He also equaled his compatriot Carlos Moyà with thirteen appearances in seventh place on the list of players with the highest number of appearances in the round of 16 of ‘major’ competitions.
He will have the chance to match his best result on the banks of the Yarra if he overcomes his next hurdle against American Paul.
Regarding the course of the match, the Briton began with a pace clearly below that of a Bautista who conceded just five unforced errors to score the first set by a resounding 6-1.
Murray needed a set to find the necessary heat to rediscover his tennis and forget the fatigue of his two previous marathon clashes, against the Italian Matteo Berrettini (9) and the local Thanasi Kokkinakis, which forced him to play a total of ten sets.
With the support of the stands and better feelings, he was hooked on a second set in which Bautista far exceeded the unforced errors of the first round (11), and ended up winning to establish the equalizer before the roar of a Margaret Court that bordered on the legal on several occasions.
The coldness of the man from Castellón did not distract him from reality: he just needed to continue with his order from the bottom line and wait for the wear and tear of his 35-year-old rival, and with a hip replacement, to flourish.
The script was fulfilled and the solidity of Bautista made a dent in a Murray who received a break at the most delicate moment of a fourth set that was final.
The clash was similar to that match that both played at the John Cain Arena in the 2019 edition, when the Scotsman announced that it would be his farewell as a professional and in which the Spaniard prevailed in a five-set duel.
The only Spanish tennis player with options who never understood why Murray announced that this was his last match, but highlighted his passion for tennis and competition, commented at his last press conference.
Bautista has a favorable 3-1 face to face against his next rival Paul despite the fact that the American took the last meeting that took place in the recent tournament in Paris Bercy.
The match will take place this Monday at Melbourne Park and the winner will meet the winner of the clash that will face the Americans JJ Wolf with Ben Shelton. EFE
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