Andy Murray exits Australian Open after straight sets loss to Taro Daniel

Andy Murray is out of the Australian Open after suffering a straight sets loss to Japan's Taro Daniel in the second round on Thursday (January 20).

Andy Murray in action. (Twitter: @the_LTA)

Andy Murray was eliminated from the Australian Open in the second round itself. The former British number 1, who endured a gruelling five-set encounter in the first round, was unable to make it past the second.

He lost in straight sets to Japan’s Taro Daniel. Daniel, a 28-year-old who’s ranked outside the top 100, beat Murray 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

It is perhaps some indictment of where Murray is in his career right now that Daniel proved too much to handle. The Japanese star is a journeyman at best, currently ranked 120 in the world.

It is worth remembering he needed to play the qualifiers to make the event. This is despite being 28 years old, an age where arguably most players are at their best.

He even said afterwards that he was cramping up a bit in the third set. Despite that, Murray could not touch him at all.

“It’s amazing, winning a match like this in front of so many people. It’s unbelievable – thank you,” Daniel said after the match.

“It was an amazing level from me. I got a bit nervous in the third set and started cramping a little bit. [But] I tried not to make too big a deal of this match, playing Andy Murray.

“Even if it was against me, I was trying to feel the energy [of the crowd]. I felt goosebumps, it was amazing.”

Where next for Andy Murray?

The loss will doubtless raise a few questions over Murray’s future. Many feel the fact he can even play at all after a hip replacement surgery is quite an achievement.

However, the former Grand Slam winner has aspirations of mixing it up among the world’s best even now. And he remains some distance away from doing that at present.

Daniel is the kind of player a peak Murray would have easily dispatched. That’s not to say the Japanese is a bad player; his nimble style was clearly too much for Murray.

But the main reason that was the case is because Murray’s movement is severely compromised after his surgeries and subsequent rehabs.

Watching the Scot play, it is clear that he is still able to read the game well; but where he falls short is in his ability to pull off what he wants to.

Daniel overwhelmed Murray mainly due to the fact that he could move better. And that will doubtless play on Murray’s mind as he contemplates his future.

Sportslumo Desk

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