Day 4 Australian Open recap: Simon, Bautista Agut shine in five-set flurry

Heat, five-setters, and long hours were the story on Thursday at the Australian Open. After an extended break on the outer courts due to dangerously hot conditions, nighttime ushered in some remarkable drama.

Going into the tournament, almost nothing could have been more unexpected than Gilles Simon reaching the third round by winning two consecutive five-setters. The Frenchman had been on crutches the weekend before due to an ankle injury at the Kooyong Classic, but his performances on Tuesday and Thursday defied all odds. Not only did Simon outlast Daniel Brands 16-14 in the fifth, but he also came back from two sets to one down to oust Marin Cilic.

Simon talks about his win over Brands, during which he saved seven match points:

No result was more surprising than Juan Martin Del Potro’s exit at the hands of Roberto Bautista Agut. The fifth seed and third favorite to win the event had been coming off a title in Sydney and he remained in decent form; he simply got outplayed by an on-fire opponent. Bautista Agut cracked an incredible 72 winners over the three hours and 53 minutes of play.

Bautista Agut serves out the match at 6-5 in the fifth:

The best atmosphere of the day also saw something of a shock: Benoit Paire storming back from two sets down to win a match. In fact, the combustible Frenchman even trailed Nick Kyrgios 2-0 in the third on Thursday night, but Paire showed rare mental fortitude and laughed in the face of a two-set, one-break deficit. To the chagrin of a thoroughly entertained Aussie crowd, Paire prevailed 6-7(5), 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 over a cramping Kyrgios.

Kyrgios saves set point in the second with arguably the shot of the tournament:

Stanislas Wawrinka approved of his friend’s fightback:

More from the department of hard to believe: Andy Murray won the last 23 points of his match. Yes, qualifier Vincent Millot led the Scot 5-1, 40-30 in the third set then failed to win a single point the entire rest of the way.

“It’s not easy to do, either,” Murray assured. “It was 6-5 when I went to serve for it and someone shouted out, ‘You won 19 in a row.’ I would say that’s probably the most I’d ever won in my career by far. I mean, it’s very difficult to do. I don’t really know how I did it. I didn’t realize until I went to serve for the match. I was just thinking about the games, to be honest, rather than the points. And, yeah, if someone hadn’t shouted out, I wouldn’t have realized. I hadn’t lost many points, but I hadn’t realized I hadn’t lost any at all. I mean, I didn’t really care about winning 23 points in a row.  I wanted to win the match.”

6 Comments on Day 4 Australian Open recap: Simon, Bautista Agut shine in five-set flurry

  1. Is Kyrgios the one doing that awful screaming though? Must be, I’ve seen Benoit play and can’t remember him doing it, was a doubles however.
    That was WORSE than Shoutypova!
    And, how can ANYONE be surprised at what Andy can do? 😉

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