Andy Murray is back in action against Roberto Bautista Agut this afternoon in the last 16 of the 2022 Qatar Open.
The Scot made a statement against Taro Daniel in the last round, putting right the defeat to the Japanese player at last month’s Australian Open in the second round. The former British No 1 looks to be gaining confidence, especially with his first serve on point, which allowed him to ease through in a 6-2, 6-4 win. The 34-year-old is a two-time winner in Doha and was granted a wildcard into the main draw, with his latest win coming back in 2009, completing a title defence.
“Obviously the results from 12 years ago aren’t going to affect the results this week,” Murray said. “But what it tells me is that the conditions here are good for my game, so if I can play to a good level, the courts are going to suit me here and I’ll make it difficult for everyone I play against. Hey [Daniel] played very well in Australia. He had a very good run there and was too good for me there. I tried to be the one dictating from the first point and I thought I did that well. It was one of the better matches I’ve played in recent months.”
Now the former Wimbledon champion takes on Bautista Agut, another former winner in Qatar, with a 3-1 head-to-head record against the Spaniard, whose only win came in that marathon five-set win at the Australian Open three years ago.
Follow live updates from Murray vs Bautista Agut below†
*Murray 0-6 1-4 Bautista Agut
Murray gets a rare look at a Bautista Agut service game at 15-30, only for the Spaniard to hit an ace up the middle of the court.
But an unforced error from Bautista Agut, another rarity, into the net sets up break point to Murray.
Bautista Agut plays the point superbly, though, playing with great depth before finding the line with a backhand winner.
Murray hits the net as Bautista Agut forces the play, before he seals the hold with an unreturnable serve down the middle.
Pretty emphatic stuff from the world 17, this.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 16:06
Murray 0-6 1-3 Bautista Agut* – Bautista Agut breaks
That’s better from Murray, as the Scot finds a succession of first serves to move to 40-0. A couple of loose forehands bring Bautista Agut back into it, however.
Then, after landing a first serve out wide, Murray follows it up with another forehand error – this time into the net.
Bautista Agut then opens up the court with a backhand across court, before finding the winner into the opposite corner.
It brings up the first break point of the second set and after some brilliant defense from the Spaniard, Bautista Agut slips and Murray can hit the winner into the open court.
Murray lets out a huge howl of frustration as he is then pegged back to deuce following a loose backhand.
Another backhand error sets up another break point – and this time Bautista Agut takes it. After a lengthy rally, Murray can’t do enough as he approaches the net, with the Spaniard firing the volley past him.
You’d never want to rule Murray out, but that’s a huge blow to his chances of a comeback.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 16:01
*Murray 0-6 1-2 Bautista Agut
Bautista Agut opens his next service game with a lovely forehand winner across court, and the Spaniard quickly wraps it up to 15.
Murray has been unable to make an impression on Bautista Agut’s serve so far.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 15:51
Murray 0-6 1-1 Bautista Agut*
Murray just can’t get the better of Bautista Agut on the extended rallies. The Spaniard is pinning Murray back behind the baseline with the depth of his shots, as Murray nets on a backhand slice to bring up 30-30.
Murray sends down a strong first serve to quickly win the next point – before Bautista Agut goes long on another Murray serve.
And there’s the hold! Murray is on the board.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 15:47
*Murray 0-6 0-1 Bautista Agut
Murray digs in to put some pressure on Bautista Agut’s opening service game at 30-30.
The Spaniard rushes the net, as he has done in most of the big points, and once again gets the better of the exchange to pop a volley into the open court.
And Bautista Agut wraps up the hold on the next point.
Now, can Murray get off the board? There’s a long way back in this game but an opening hold would be a start.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 15:42
Murray 0-6 Bautista Agut* – Bautista Agut wins opening set
Murray, serving to stay in the set, plays a lovely drop shot to earn a ripple of applause from the crowd.
Murray than lets out a small ‘C’mon’ as a Bautista Agut forehand drifts long – before the Spaniard gets the better of an exchange at the net as Murray guides an angled volley wide.
At 30-30, Murray drops a backhand into the net to bring up a set point for Bautista Agut.
And another poor backhand from Murray seals his fate, and an opening 6-0 set for Bautista Agut.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 15:37
*Murray 0-5 Bautista Agut
A pretty simple hold of serve for Bautista Agut follows, and to love as well.
The 2014 World Cup golden boot winner James Rodriguez is in the crowd enjoying some evening tennis.
The Colombian plays for a side in Qatar now after leaving Everton earlier this season.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 15:32
Murray 0-4 Bautista Agut*
At 0-15, Murray plays a questionable sliced backhand drop shot, which Bautista Agut is able to reach before sending down the line for a winner.
Murray responds with an ace, before he smacks away a ball in frustration as he follows that up with a double fault to hand Bautista Agut two breaks points.
Bautista Agut snaps up the return as Murray looks to stay in the point, but he eventually loses out as he hits a forehand wide.
And there’s the double break.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 15:28
*Murray 0-3 Bautista Agut
On 15-15, Bautista Agut forces the play to send Murray behind the baseline, before dispatching the overhead into the corner.
Murray hits back to take it to 30-30 but controlled aggression from Bautista Agut sees the Spaniard close the net before finishing a forehand volley.
Bautista Agut then seals the hold with an ace out wide that clipped the line. Murray challenged but to no avail.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 15:23
Murray 0-2 Bautista Agut* – Bautista Agut breaks
Bautista Agut races into a 0-15 lead on the Murray serve with a backhand winner down the line.
And wow, the Spaniard again goes after a Murray second serve before ripping a backhand winner straight down the line to bring up 0-30.
Murray can’t find a first serve and he nets on a forehand to hand his opponent three break points.
Murray’s first serve goes long but another weak groundstroke into the net gives Bautista Agut the opening break.
Jamie Braidwood16 Feb 2022 15:20