Andy Murray out of Australian Open after straight-sets defeat to qualifier Taro Daniel

Five-time finalist loses 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in Melbourne, while Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Rublev ease into Round 3

Andy Murray was beaten 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 by Taro Daniel in Round 2 of the Australian Open. EPA
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Five-time finalist Andy Murray was beaten in straight sets by Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Hopes were high that Murray could have another strong run in Melbourne when he battled to a five-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round.

But, back on John Cain Arena, the feeling was very different this time as Murray, 34, struggled for sharpness against a tenacious and mobile opponent and fell to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 defeat.

"I'm really, really disappointed. Very frustrated. A tough loss for me, that's for sure," Murray said.

"I made way too many errors today. Yeah, wasn't able to turn it around today, but he definitely was solid today. He moved well and deserved to win.

“This is a really important year for me for a number of reasons and I want to perform well in the big events. For me, tonight is not good enough in that respect.

“Making second rounds of Slams is not something I find particularly motivating. I want to be doing better than that. It depends on how I get on this year results wise and how I perform in the big events.”

It was a desperately disappointing end for the Briton who struggled for sharpness against the world No 120 — the lowest-ranked opponent ever to beat Murray at a major.

“Winning a big match like this is unbelievable,” said Daniel. “It was an amazing level from me. I got a bit nervous in the third set. 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 [in the crowd]. I felt goosebumps, it was amazing.”

Daniel, 28, had won just five games over three sets in their only previous meeting in the Davis Cup in 2016 but Murray, whose heavy workload also included reaching the final of the ATP Tour event in Sydney at the weekend, began sluggishly and was unable to turn the tide in his favour.

He had never lost to a player ranked outside the top 100 at a Grand Slam, with then world No 191 Arnaud Clement the previous lowest, in the second round of the US Open back in 2005.

World No 2 Daniil Medvedev proved too strong for home favourite Nick Kyrgios as the Russian ran out an impressive 7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 winner on Rod Laver Arena.

The US Open champion sealed his place in the next round despite capacity 50 per cent crowd relentlessly backing his opponent throughout. An inspired Kyrgios forced a break of serve in the third set to take the match into the fourth but Medvedev, who is the highest-ranked men's player remaining following Novak Djokovic's deportation, soon regained control.

A double break in the fourth set made it look easy for last year's Australian Open finalist and he will next meet 57th-ranked Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands for a place in Round 4.

“I came to win this match and I am happy to do it,” said Medvedev. “It's not easy when you get booed between the first and second serve. I had to stay calm.”

World No 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas ground out a 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Grand Slam debutant Sebastian Baez in a battle of two former junior world No 1 players.

Tsitsipas — a two-time Australian Open semi-finalist — said his 21-year-old opponent from Argentina had made him work. “It wasn't easy. I'm glad I overcame that obstacle today,” said the Greek. “Lot's of fighting, a little bit of swearing, but glad to be in the third round.”

Tsitsipas will now face Benoit Paire of France who knocked out 26th-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6.

Last year's quarter-finalist Andrey Rublev made short work of Ricardas Berankis with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 win over the unseeded Lithuanian. The Russian fifth seed next meets Croatia's Marin Cilic, who beat Norbert Gombos 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6.

Canadian ninth seed Felix Auger Aliassime defeated Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 to set up a third-round tie with Briton Dan Evans, who received a walkover after Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech withdrew with a wrist injury.

Argentina's Diego Schwartzman, seeded 13th, fell to a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 defeat against world No 175 Australian wild-card Christopher O'Connell.

Australian prospect Alex de Minaur, 22, made it through in front of the Rod Laver Arena crowd with a comfortable 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over Poland's Kamil Majchrzak.

Taylor Fritz won an all-American clash with Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-3, 7-6, and will now take on Spanish 16th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-0, 6-3.

Updated: January 20, 2022, 12:13 PM