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Quick hits from Queen's 2014: Murray back with a bang

Andy Murray celebrates with the crowd on Centre Court
by Leigh Walsh
Thursday 12 June 2014

Wimbledon.com's highlights from the third day of the Aegon Championships 2014 at The Queen's Club...

Major highlights

Andy Murray and Amelie Mauresmo, or “Murresmo” as they’ve been dubbed, got their partnership off to a winning start as the British No. 1 opened the defence of his title at The Queen’s Club with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Paul Henri-Mathieu.

Murray had beaten the Frenchman in their five previous outings and went into the match as firm favourite to advance. After dropping the opening three points, Murray reeled off five in succession to break Mathieu’s serve in the first game. From there, he didn’t look back.

Murray, who only made the switch from clay to grass at the weekend after a semi-final run at Roland Garros, looked comfortable on the surface he has come to dominate in recent years. The stats were impressive: 10 aces, 92% points won on first serve and he saved all three break points he faced during the 97-minute encounter.

“The hardest part is actually getting used to the movement,” said Murray on the surface transition. “When your body gets used to sliding into shots and that starts to become natural, and then to stop yourself from doing it, it's a really bad habit to get into on the grass. You really don't want to move like that for a number of reasons.

“That's normally the hardest thing. I thought I was quite disciplined with my movement today.”

Murray has now won 19 straight matches on grass, a streak that dates back to the London Olympics in 2012. His last defeat on the surface came in the Wimbledon final earlier that summer when he lost out to Roger Federer.

Of course, 18 of those 19 wins came under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl but Murray says he won’t be making any drastic changes ahead of Wimbledon, even with a new coach on board.

“You know, any time you start new with anyone it's obviously going to be slightly different,” he said. “But this week, you know, there's not going to be any big changes in my game. I also wouldn't expect any before Wimbledon. I mean, we spoke a bit about the match and the tactics and then chatted a little bit afterwards.

“But we'll definitely work on some things after the tournament is finished here.”

Next up for Murray is Czech veteran Radek Stepanek. The 35 year old booked his place in the round of 16 with a 7-6(4), 7-6(5) victory over Bernard Tomic, who has endured a difficult year to-date.

Top seed Stan Wawrinka also advanced with little trouble. He led 3-2 in the first set when Marcos Baghdatis was forced to retire with a shoulder injury, gifting the Swiss No. 1 his first ever victory at Queen’s. He’ll be after a second win when he goes up against 2010 champion Sam Querrey in the next round.

“I'm sorry for [Baghdatis] first,” said Wawrinka, who was a late wild card entrant into the field. “He's a great friend. He's been playing well since he started on grass, winning the first tournament [in Nottingham]. It's never easy.”

“I'm feeling really good,” he added. “I'm really happy with my level of the game, the way I am practicing and to play a few games on centre.”           

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a finalist in 2011, will take on Marin Cilic’s conqueror Marinko Matosevic after seeing off the challenge of Belgian youngster David Goffin 7-6(5), 6-2 in his opening match.

Big win

The biggest win of the day came on Court 1 where Kenny De Schepper dispatched of Roland Garros semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis. The Latvian broke the top 10 this week but he failed to carry his clay-court form onto the slick grass, succumbing to the Frenchman 7-6(3), 7-5.

Four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt was also downed. The Australian was the victim of a superb performance from Feliciano Lopez, who called the match “one of the best” he’s played on the surface.

Quotes of the day

“Well, to be honest, I don't know because not every woman is the same. Not every man is the same, either” – Murray when asked if there are advantages to having a female coach.

“I lost. I lost a lot” – It would seem, Gulbis’ night of blackjack in Latvia to celebrate his French Open semi-final didn’t go so well.

Out and about 

Defending champion Andy Murray was on hand to present the Aegon Championships with their ATP World Tour 250 Tournament of the Year award. ATP Chief Executive Chris Kermode, Queen’s tournament director Ross Hutchins and managing director Stephen Farrow were in attendance on Centre Court as the trophy was handed over. The event in Bastad, Sweden had won the award for 11 years in a row.  

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