Australian Open 2023 Day 6: Andy Murray's miracle run ends; Novak Djokovic moves on

Roberto Bautista Agut (left) greets Andy Murray after winning the third-round match in Melbourne. (Photo by William West/AFP via Getty Images)
Roberto Bautista Agut (left) greets Andy Murray after winning the third-round match in Melbourne. (Photo by William West/AFP via Getty Images)

Andy Murray's amazing run at the 2023 Australian Open is done.

The sleep-deprived Murray — who 28 hours earlier won a 5-hour, 45-minute, five-set marathon over Thanasi Kokkinakis that ended after 4 a.m. local time in Melbourne — ran out of miracles in the third round against Roberto Bautista Agut on Saturday.

The 35-year-old Murray put up a fight in a 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4 loss that lasted 3 hours and 29 minutes — the shortest match for Murray during this year's Australian Open. Murray defeated Matteo Berrettini in the first round in a match that lasted close to five hours.

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"My feet didn't feel great," Murray said after Saturday's match. "My legs actually felt OK. I was actually struggling with my lower back and was struggling with my serve."

Despite his struggles, Murray fought valiantly against the 24th-seeded Bautista Agut in a rematch of their five-set 2019 Australian Open thriller. But once again, Bautista Agut proved to be too tough for Murray.

"Playing Andy at a Grand Slam is very tough," Bautista Agut said after the match. "He knows the game very well. He knows very well how to play a Grand Slam match. I'm very happy with how I held the nerves and tension. I'm very happy with the win.

"There was a lot of love for Andy," Bautista Agut joked as the crowd cheered. "Maybe in the next round, a little more for me?"

Murray's highlight Saturday came in the second set. Trailing 4-2, Murray fought back to force a tiebreaker. Trailing 6-4 in the tiebreaker, Murray saved two set points and went on to win the tiebreak 9-7.

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But Bautista Agut rebounded in the third, breaking Murray at 4-3 on his way to winning the set 6-3.

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Then he finished off Murray in the fourth set to set up a fourth-round matchup with Tommy Paul.

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Despite the loss, Murray's run breeds excitement for his upcoming appearance in the French Open.

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"You never know exactly when the end is going to be," Murray said. "But I would like to go out playing tennis like this where I'm competing with the best players in the world at the biggest events and doing myself justice. ..."

"I can have a deeper run than the third round of a slam, there's no question about that."

Djokovic cruises into fourth round

Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, the No. 4 seed, defeated 27th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, 7-6(7), 6-3, 6-4, but it wasn't easy.

"I thought double-break in the third set was going to be enough for me, but he was locked in from that moment and up to the very last shot I did not know if I was going to prevail," Djokovic said. "It was an incredible battle, three sets over three hours."

Djokovic, who next faces Alex de Minaur, advanced to fourth round of the Australian Open for the 15th time in his career.

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How did the Americans do?

  • American Ben Shelton advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over Alexei Popyrin. Shelton faces J.J. Wolf next in a surprising fourth-round match. Both players reached the round of 16 in their Australian Open debuts. Only three other players total have accomplished that feat in the past 10 years. "For the first 12 or 13 years of my life I swore that I would never play tennis," Shelton said. "I kind of fell in love with the sport, and here we are. Hopefully, I can make a career out of it."

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  • No. 7 Coco Gauff will face No. 17 seed Jeļena Ostapenko who defeated Kateryna Balndl 6-3, 6-0.

  • Gauff and third-seeded American Jessica Pegula are doubles No. 2 seeds and reached the third round by defeating Uchijima/Wang 7-5 6-1. Pegula will face No. 20 Barbora Krejčíková early Sunday.

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Other notable upsets

  • Top-ranked Iga Swiatek cruised to a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Cristina Bucsa to set up a fourth-round showdown with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

  • Fourth-seeded Caroline Garcia advanced to the fourth round here for the first time since 2018 with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Laura Siegemund.

  • Belinda Bencic advanced to the fourth round for the first time in seven years with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Camila Giorgi.

  • Magda Linette upset No. 19 Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

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What to watch

Men's

  • No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz vs. No. 29 Sebastian Korda, 9:45 p.m. ET

  • No. 18 Karen Khachanov vs. No. 31 Yoshihito Nishioka, 10:30 p.m. ET

  • No. 6 Felix Auger Aliassime vs. Jiri Lehecka, 11:30 p.m. ET

  • No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Jannik Sinner, 3 a.m. ET Sunday

  • Ben Shelton vs. J.J. Wolf, Sunday

  • No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Tommy Paul, Sunday

  • No. 22 Alex de Minaur vs. No. 4 Novak Djokovic, Sunday

  • No. 5 Andrey Rublev vs. No. 9 Holger Rune, Sunday

Women's

  • No. 1 Iga Świątek vs. No. 22 Elena Rybakina, 8:30 p.m. ET

  • No. 7 Coco Gauff vs. No. 17 Jeļena Ostapenko, 9 p.m. ET

  • No. 3 Jessica Pegula vs. No. 20 Barbora Krejčíková, 1 a.m. ET Sunday

  • No. 24 Victoria Azarenka vs. Zhu Lin, 5 a.m. ET Sunday

  • No. 30 Karolína Plíšková vs. No. 23 Zhang Shuai, Sunday