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Australian Open day two: Andy Murray, Naomi Osaka suffer early exits

Australian Open day two: Andy Murray, Naomi Osaka suffer early exits
© Reuters
Former Grand Slam winners Andy Murray and Naomi Osaka are among the first-round losers on day two of the 2024 Australian Open.

Andy Murray's potential farewell appearance at the Australian Open ended with a whimper as he fell to a straight-sets defeat in his first-round match against Argentina's Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

The five-time finalist memorably came through two taxing five-setters to reach the third round last year, but there would be no electrifying comeback from Murray this time around as he slumped to a 4-6 2-6 2-6 defeat.

Murray landed just 52% of his first serves throughout the contest and also won only a third of points behind his second serve against world number 30 Etcheverry, who fired 11 aces past the 36-year-old.

Murray lost serve in the first game of the match before breaking back straight away, but he could not respond to a second slip-up in the opening set and was broken at the fourth time of asking in the second set.

The three-time winner was presented with little openings on the Etcheverry serve, missing four of the five break points he fashioned, and despite saving one match point, Murray could not spark another miraculous turnaround at Etcheverry advanced to face Gael Monfils in round two.

Naomi Osaka reacts at the Australian Open on January 15, 2024© Reuters

After suffering just his fourth first-round exit in Melbourne, Murray admitted in his post-match press conference that he may have competed for Australian Open glory for the final time.

"I won't win many matches playing that way. It's a definite possibility that will be the last time I play here," Murray said. "I was disappointed with the way I played and all of that stuff. It was a tough, tough way to finish."

Murray was not the only major winner to fall at the first hurdle, as two-time Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka bowed out in a 4-6 6-7[2] defeat to French 16th seed Caroline Garcia in one hour and 26 minutes.

Osaka was making her first Grand Slam appearance since the 2022 US Open, having missed the entire 2023 season due to pregnancy, and despite tallying an impressive 11 aces, the former world number one failed to bring up a single break point against a resilient Garcia.

Elsewhere on day two, Daniil Medvedev advanced to the second round as French qualifier Terenc Atmane - who had taken the first set - retired injured, while Stefanos Tsitsipas came back to sink lucky loser Zizou Bergs 5-7 6-1 6-1 6-3.

Daniil Medvedev reacts at the Australian Open on January 15, 2024© Reuters

Former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic retired injured from his clash with home favourite Alex de Minaur, while Nicolas Jarry was the first seed to fall, losing to Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli 4-6 6-3 3-6 6-2 5-7.

The action ended at around 1:40 am with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dominic Thiem engaging in an absorbing five-set battle, in which the Austrian brilliantly recovered from two sets down, only for Auger-Aliassime to prevail 6-3 7-5 6-7[5] 5-7 6-3 in four hours and 59 minutes.

In the women's event, reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova was a shadow of her SW19 self, as she was knocked out 1-6 2-6 to Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska in just 76 minutes.

Ons Jabeur, Coco Gauff and Elina Svitolina made it safely through, though, and the former will now take on 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, who cruised past Bernarda Pera 7-5 6-2 on her Australian Open debut.

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