At 4am on Friday in Melbourne, Andy Murray emerged victorious from the longest match of his career, defeating Thanasi Kokkinakis in five grueling sets. Two days previous to this win, Murray also defeated the 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in just under five hours. Is it possible for Murray to win a third match after these two insane feats of strength?
We’ve come up with five reasons not to doubt the surreal Scot going into his third-round with Roberto Bautista Agut.
Five Reasons Andy Murray can Defeat Roberto Bautista Agut
1. Defying The Odds
Let’s take a look at the odds Murray has defied so far. According to some popular bookmakers, he was given a:
- 23% chance of beating Berrettini before their match.
- 40% chance of beating Kokkinakis before their match.
- 1.4% chance of beating Kokkinakis during their third set.
Murray’s been given a 27% chance of defeating Bautista Agut. That doesn’t sound insurmountable compared to the other odds he’s already overcome, right?
2. Quick Recovery Time
Before this Australian Open run, in his metal-hip-era, Murray has won four matches that have lasted over three hours and 40 minutes.
After all four of the matches he’s played that lasted longer than this time, Murray went down in straight sets in the following match.
- Murray def. Nishioka at the US Open 2020 (4:39) then lost to Auger-Aliassime.
- Murray def. Otte at Wimbledon 2021 (3:51) then lost to Shapovalov.
- Murray def. Tiafoe in Antwerp 2021 (3:45) then lost to Schwartzman.
- Murray def. Basilashvili at the Australian Open 2022 (3:52) then lost to Daniel in straights.
It’s not like winning these matches was a stretch for Murray, but for him to bounce back and win two consecutive five-hour matches is unprecedented at this stage in his career.
3. Breaking New Ground
The most encouraging thing about these wins? Ironically, it’s the fact that Murray has never been on court for this long over the course of two consecutive Slam wins throughout his career–even before his hip surgery.
This is a feat of strength that leaves us in uncharted territory. Has Murray’s off-season left him as strong or more motivated than ever before? Of course he should be tired, but everything that’s happened over his last two matches leaves that logic looking a little blurry.
4. The Head-to-Head
Historically, however, their head-to-head has favored Murray. Before the hip surgery, Murray led the head-to-head 3-0. He hadn’t dropped a set in his three wins, the Spaniard’s impressive backhand often buckling under the pressure of Murray’s own unbreakable backhand.
Given points two and three, if Murray is playing close to his athletic best, the match up should favour him.
5. Love For The Australian Open
It may sound obvious but Murray loves the Australian Open. The man isn’t a five-time finalist here for nothing–the conditions generally suit his game, the courts are the widest of the all the Slams giving Murray plenty of room to defend and the crowd love to get behind him.
Murray’s match with Bautista Agut kicks off at 19:00 AEDT (8:00 GMT).
Main Photo from Getty.