Andy Murray finished off his comeback to competitive action by claiming his third Aegon Championships title at The Queen's Club, defeating Marin Cilic 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.
It was about as perfect a result as he could have hoped for, coming through a tight match against the threatening fifth seed on a very wet Sunday afternoon in West London. Murray has been sharp on the court all week, while seemingly relaxed off it, and despite a great deal of frustration at a very delayed start as plenty of drizzle hovered over Barons Court for almost three hours, the two-time champion came out firing, breaking Cilic immediately.
But the Croat, who has beaten Murray just once in their previous nine meetings, came right back, and captured the first set 7-5. With the sun finally shining, it was Murray who began to be more assertive in the second set, found his range on his serve and return, and broke to take the second set by the same margin.
"I worked very hard in the time that I had off to try and get myself off in the best shape possible, and I couldn't do it obviously without my team. They have helped me a lot," Murray said.
By the time the third came around, Cilic's errors became more numerous while Murray's shots became more splendid, and the world No.2 accelerated towards his third Queen's Club title, the 27th of his career, with quiet determination. Leading 4-1 and then 5-2, last year's Wimbledon finalist served out the title 6-3.
"Me and Marin, we have played against each other since juniors, and we have had a lot of close matches and tight matches," Murray said. "I was lucky to come through in the end because he was playing great tennis, especially towards the end of the second set and I got a little bit lucky at the end of that set."
Moments after lifting the giant Queen's Club trophy, Murray returned to the court to take part in the Rally against Cancer, pairing up with Tim Henman against Ivan Lendl and Tomas Berdych. They were later joined by Boris Johnson, Jonathan Ross, Michael McIntyre, Richard Branson, Eddie Redmayne and Jimmy Carr.
"My best friend over there, Ross Hutchins, he was diagnosed with cancer about six months ago, and he's dealt with it incredibly well," Murray said. "He's been so brave and he just finished his last treatment on Thursday.So all of the money that's raised for the exhibition match and everything that's gone with it is going to go through Royal Marsden, a charity which has helped Ross get through it."
The Bryan brothers meanwhile claimed their 90th ATP title with victory over Alex Peya and Bruno Soares, 4-6, 7-5, 10-3 for their fifth Queen's Club title. The world No.1s are on an 18-match winning streak going into Wimbledon.
And over in Halle, defending Wimbledon champion Roger Federer claimed his 77th title and sixth at the German grass court event, beating Mikhail Youzhny 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4.
It's all shaping up nicely for The Championships. One week to go.
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