Andy Murray and doubles partner Feliciano Lopez downed top seed Cabal and Farah, while in the singles Greek star Tsitsipas held firm despite playing twice in one day.
Shared News| Updated: June 21, 2019 11:20:49 am
Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez celebrate a point during their first round match at the Queen’s Club. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
‘Pain free’ Murray marks return with doubles win
Britain’s Andy Murray made a successful return to action after six months out following hip surgery as he partnered Feliciano Lopez to a first-round doubles win at the Queen’s Club championships on Thursday.
The 32-year-old, five-times a winner of the singles at the prestigious Wimbledon warm-up event, delighted a large evening centre court crowd with some fluent shot-making as he and Spanish veteran Lopez beat top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 7-6(5) 6-3.
Murray, who missed most of 2018 with a hip injury, last played at the Australian Open in January when it appeared his career might be over following an emotional second-round defeat by Roberto Bautista Agut.
The two-times Wimbledon champion, by far Britain’s most successful player in modern times, underwent hip-resurfacing surgery shortly after that but has been coy about his chances of making a return to the singles court.
While not too much can be read into Thursday’s doubles win, Murray certainly appeared to be moving without the trademark limp that was present when he played his last singles match at Wimbledon two years ago — a loss to Sam Querrey.
He had the crowd roaring their approval, producing two crunching forehand winners to secure a vital break of serve in the second set and a superb backhand overhead volley in the last game as he and Lopez closed in on victory over the Colombians who will rue such a demanding draw.
“It was brilliant. I enjoyed it a lot. I was a little bit slow at the beginning but got better as the match went on,” former world number one Murray said.
“I’m very fortunate to be back playing tennis again. I love playing on this court, it’s a brilliant place to play tennis.
“I felt quite relaxed in the build-up today but I started to feel a bit nervous walking to the court. You want the nerves and the butterflies in the stomach and I had that today.”
Murray later said he had been “pain free” and confirmed he would play with Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the Wimbledon men’s doubles and would also play mixed.
“I have spoken to a couple of players. I’ve been rejected a couple of times so far,” Murray joked.
Tsitsipas works overtime to reach Queen’s quarter-finals
Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a day of shocks at the Queen’s Club grasscourt championships as he claimed two victories on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals.
First the Greek 20-year-old returned to court to complete his weather-delayed first-round clash with Britain’s Kyle Edmund before scraping past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Chardy served for the match in the second set but world number six Tsitsipas hung into level before sealing a 4-7 7-6(0) 7-6(4) victory to prolong his debut appearance at the prestigious Wimbledon warm-up event.
Defending champion Marin Cilic, seeded five, was earlier cut down to size by Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the second round, the big-serving Croat slumping to a 6-4 6-4 defeat.
The result was all the more surprising as it was only the diminutive Schwartzman’s third career victory on grass.
Second seed Kevin Anderson, runner-up at Wimbledon last year, went down 6-1 4-6 6-4 to Gilles Simon while another Frenchman, Nicolas Mahut, put paid to the hopes of three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka.
Mahut won 3-6 7-5 7-6(2) but there was an awkward moment for the veteran Frenchman as he was given a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct after leaving a ballgirl in tears when he struck her with a ball.
The qualifier, ranked down at 191 but always a threat on grass, had just dropped serve early on and decided to send down a practice delivery that clipped the ballgirl in the head as she went about her duties at the back of the court.
It was clearly accidental but followed another Mahut incident two days ago when he skidded over chasing a wide ball and ploughed into another unfortunate ballgirl.
Mahut and Simon meet for a place in the semi-finals.
Tsitsipas belatedly moved through to the second round as he finished off Edmund 6-3 7-5 having come off the previous night at 3-3 in the second set. He needed seven match points to end home interest in the singles draw.
He will face Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime.