Andy Murray suffered his worst ever Grand Slam defeat in terms of ranking as he went down to world No.120 Taro Daniel at the Australian Open. The S
Andy Murray suffered his worst ever Grand Slam defeat in terms of ranking as he went down to world No.120 Taro Daniel at the Australian Open. The Scot had beaten the Japanese for the loss of only five games in their previous meeting in 2016.
But the former world No.1 looked slow and sluggish after his five-set win over world No.23 Nikoloz Basilashvili on the same John Cain Arena.
And qualifier Daniel played an inspired match to win 6-4 6-4 6-4 to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time against the three-time Major winner. He attacked the Scot’s second serve and hit 46 winners with his backhand down the line a deadly weapon. It was a sad return to Melbourne Park for the first time since 2019 for the five-time finalist here.
The lowest-ranked player to have beaten Murray in a Grand Slam before today was world No.91 Arnaud Clement in the second round of the 2005 US Open. It was also the only time the world No.113 had lost to a qualifier before today.
Wildcard Murray had claimed Grand Slam tournaments would give him – and his metal hip – an extra day of rest between matches. But he has now lost his following match in straight sets all three times he has won a five-setter since his hip resurfacing following his last appearance here in January 2019.
It was the same story at the 2020 US Open when he beat Yoshihito Nishioka and the lost to Felix Auger Aliassime and then at Wimbledon last year when his victory over Oscar Otte was followed by a quick defeat against Denis Shapovalov.
Murray fell behind early when he was broken in just the third game of the match when Daniel took his second break point after five deuces. He levelled up the match at 3-3 when Daniel missed a backhand – the only break point out of eight Murray took in the opening two sets. But the Scot immediately gave the break back with a double fault.
It was the same story in the second set and Murray needed to save points at 1-3 to go down a double break but lost gain 6-4.
As Daniel’s level dropped at the start of the third set, Murray look ready to mount a fightback as he broke the Japanese serve for just a second time to go 2-0 up. But again the world No.120 broke straight back and then broke Murray for a fifth and final time at 4-4 when the Scot slapped a backhand into the net. The double Olympic champion threw his racket to the floor in disgust and was given a warning for racket abuse by umpire Aurelie Tourte. Daniel took his first match point after two hours and 48 minutes with his first serve-and-volley of the match