Defending champion Roger Federer cruised to a straight-sets victory in his opening match at the Australian Open, while Andy Murray bowed out after a five-set thriller with Roberto Bautista-Agut.
World No 3 Federer began his Australian Open title defence with a relatively easy victory over Denis Istomin. It took the Swiss maestro just under two hours to clinch a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over the 101st ranked Istomin. Federer did not have to save single break point.
There was heartbreak for Britain’s Murray, who fought back from two sets down to get back level in his match against Bautista-Agut, only for the Spaniard to break Murray twice in the decider to clinch victory in what could be his final match at the Australian Open.
Murray shocked the world when he announced that due to ongoing hip problems, he may soon retire. He admitted that the Australian Open might be his last event, but hopes to make one last Wimbledon appearance.
Bautista-Agut needed only two breaks of serve in the opening sets to take a 2-0 lead. It looked like the match would be over very quickly after he broke Murray for a third time, but Murray broke back as the third went to a tie-break. Murray took the breaker 7-5 to get on the board.
The fourth set did not see a single break opportunity and Murray levelled the match at two sets all after winning the tie-break 7-4.
There was some belief that Murray could actually cause an upset. But a visually tired Murray dropped serve in the third and fifth games to ultimately bow out with a 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 2-6 loss.