Former World and British number One Andy Murray has been knocked out of the Australian Open in straight sets by the Japanese tennis player Taro Daniel.
Daniel, ranked 120 in the ATP world rankings, beat the 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon Champion 6-4 6-4 6-4 to make it through to the third round of the ‘Happy Slam’.
Murray made his return to the Australian Open for the first time in three years at the 2022 event and had a hard fought battle with the Georgian tennis player, and 20th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round before losing out to the Japanese qualifier.
This is now the first time Murray has lost a Grand Slam match to an opponent ranked as low as Daniel.
Daniel’s victory now means that he will reach the third round of a major tournament for the third time in his career.
The Scotsman’s exit from Melbourne Park now means that Dan Evans is the only Briton left in the male’s singles title.
Evans was due to play the French tennis player Arthur Rinerknech in the second round but Rinerknech had to withdraw after sustaining a wrist injury.
The 31-year-old Brit is now through to the last 32 and is set to face Canada’s Felix Auger-Alisassime who is seeded ninth.
What happened in Murray v Daniel?
Murray had been hoping to have a deep run in this tournament after making such a heroic return to the event.
At the same event three years ago, Murray lost in the first round to Roberto Bautista Agut and it was believed that this would be the final match Murray would ever play.
After undergoing hip surgery later that year, the Glaswegian-born tennis player made a miraculous return to the court and was able to be part of the Australian Open for the first time since 2019.
It appeared that Murray should have been able to walk through this match with little difficulties, especially following his triumphant display against Basilashvili in the first round.
However, Daniel turned up full of overflowing confidence following his qualifying success and first round - the 28-year-old is yet to drop a single set in the tournament.
It also appeared that Murray may have exerted all of his energy in his first round match and had none left to spare when fighting his second round opponent.
Murray lost his serve in a 13-minute game, and despite fighting back for 3-3, then produced a double fault as Daniel was easily able to regain the lead, allowing him to serve out the first set.
In the first set, Murray made a total of 16 unforced errors, while Daniel only made seven.
Murray’s only chance of regaining a significant lead was in the third set as the Japanese player began to feel the pressure of the match, giving Murray a break as he produced a double fault in the second game of the third set.
This lead was not to last long as Murray made the same mistake, allowing Danilie to once again take the set back on the serve.
Despite constant cheers and noise from an excited Australian crowd, Murray lost the final three games in quick succession and ended his brief jaunt at the ‘Happy Slam’.
Who else is left in the competition?
Fellow British player Emma Raducanu has just lost to Danka Kovinic 6-4 4-6 6-3 meaning that Daniel Evans is the final Brit left in the competition.
Evans will play Auger-Aliassime on Saturday 22 January 2022.
Australian icon, Nick Kyrgios lost to the World number two, Daniil Medvedev 6-7 (7-1) 4-6 6-4 6-2 while Naomi Osaka remains in the competition, beating Madison Brengle 6-0 6-4.
Ashleigh Barty has also made it through to the third round and the 2021 Wimbledon Champion will face Camila Giorgi on Friday 21 January 2022.
Go to our article on How to watch the Australian Open to find out how to keep up with all the latest matches.
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