LONDON: World number four Andy Murray started his bid to retain the Queen’s Club title with a hard-earned 7-6 (10/8), 6-3 victory over Spain’s Ivan Navarro in the second round of the AEGON championship. Murray, playing his opening match after being given a first-round bye, is looking for a morale-boosting run at the grass-court event as he warms up for Wimbledon.
The third seed has been stuck in something of a rut since losing the Australian Open final to Roger Federer and his disappointing clay-court season ended with a tame fourth-round exit at the French Open against Tomas Berdych.
Navarro, serving and volleying impressively, kept the Scot on the back foot for much of the first set. But Murray struck back as he fought off two Navarro set points, before unleashing a backhand cross-court winner, to take the set himself. Energised by that shot, Murray broke early in the second set and did enough to keep the determined Navarro at bay.
Meanwhile, fourth-seed Andy Roddick, another top player who struggled on the clay at Roland Garros before being knocked out in the third round by Russian qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili, also enjoyed being back on the grass. The American, a four-time winner at Queen’s, looked eager to reclaim the title he last won in 2007 as he dismissed Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-2, 6-1 in just 50 minutes.
Federer back to winning his ways
Roger Federer made a victorious start to the grass-court tennis season with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen in the first round of the ATP event at Halle, Germany.
The top-seeded Swiss prevailed in one hour and three minutes to go through to the second round. The 16-time Grand Slam champion is using the Halle event as a tune-up event for Wimbledon, where he will seek to win a record-equalling seventh singles title on the south-west London grass, having recently lost his number one spot to Rafael Nadal.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 10th, 2010.
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