There would be no valiant comeback from a two-set deficit for Andy Murray this time.
His weary body – and the Canadian kid on the other side of the net – simply wouldn’t allow it.
Murray, the three-time Grand Slam champion still working his way back from a pair of hip operations, was beaten in the second round of the U.S. Open by Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday night.
“I need to build up my body and my conditioning,” Murray said.
The 15th-seeded Auger-Aliassime dominated throughout, compiling a 52-9 edge in total winners, including 24 aces, and taking 41 of the 46 points when he put his first serve in play.
Perhaps even more notably, Auger-Aliassime never faced so much as a single break point against Murray, one of the game’s great returners.
This was just too much to ask of Murray, a 33-year-old with a metal hip who two days earlier toiled for 4 hours, 39 minutes while building his 10th career comeback from two sets down to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime sat in his player suite for part of that match and was aware Thursday he shouldn’t feel too confident despite holding a big lead.
“In the back of your mind, you know you’re facing Andy Murray,” Auger-Aliassime said. “You never know what tricks he’s got in his pocket.”
That was Murray’s first Grand Slam match in nearly 20 months. He thought his problematic hip would force him to retire in 2019 but he made it back to the tour.
“The more tournaments you play, the more matches you play, the more you build up the robustness in your body, which I don’t really have,” Murray said. “Look, definitely tennis-wise, could be better, as well. I feel like I played some good stuff at times, but it was quite up and down.”
Murray is a former No. 1-ranked player whose resume also includes two Wimbledon championships and two Olympic singles gold medals.
Auger-Aliassime, who turned 20 last month, is considered one of the up-and-coming future stars of men’s tennis.
He recalled being at Flushing Meadows in 2011 and attending a match of Murray’s back then.
“Life is funny,” Auger-Aliassime said. “It’s crazy that nine years later, I’m here and playing him.”
Auger-Aliassime joins No. 12 seed Denis Shapovalov and unseeded Vasek Pospisil to give Canada three men in the third round of any Grand Slam tournament for the first time, according to the ATP.
Auger-Aliassime’s next opponent will be No. 23 Dan Evans of Britain or Corentin Moutet of France; their match was suspended in the third set because of rain Thursday night and will resume Friday.
Shapovalov plays No. 19 Taylor Fritz of the United States in the third round Friday.
Pospisil advanced Thursday by beating yet another Canadian, 25th-seeded Milos Raonic, 6-7 (1), 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Pospisil faces No. 8 Roberto Bautista Agut on Saturday for a berth in the fourth round.