Scot shakes off groin trouble to win third Aegon Champs title
WORLD No2 Andy Murray played down fears of a fresh injury scare with Wimbledon looming as he won the Aegon Championships final in three sets at Queen’s Club.
The 26-year-old, who missed four weeks of tennis – including the French Open – with a back injury, led 3-0 and 4-1 during the first set against defending champion Marin Cilic yesterday, but after overstretching his groin Murray was rattled and the Croatian took full advantage to triumph 7-5.
However, the Scot regrouped and clinched the match in just over two hours, taking the final two sets 7-5, 6-3, then assured the home crowd he is fit and ready to challenge at the All England Club next week.
“The courts have taken a pounding this week and it’s been extremely wet. I had a bit of a sore groin, but thankfully it wasn’t too bad,” he said.
“For a game or two I was a little bit unsure on my movement. But it felt fine by the end of the set, there were no problems.
“I worked very hard in my time off to get back in the best shape possible. My team helped me a lot, they were patient with me and it’s down to them that I was able to get through with the play so tough in the last two matches.
“To get matches like this before Wimbledon is just perfect.”
Rain had disrupted the championships throughout the week and played its part again with the final commencing three hours later than scheduled.
Once the sun appeared Murray wasted little time in stamping his authority on the match, breaking Cilic in his first service game.
The Croatian broke back at 4-2, before Murray’s awkward slip in the eighth game saw him return to his feet wincing in pain and he was subsequently broken once again.
Cilic eventually took the set and looked in good shape in the second with the pair both holding until Murray forced an error to clinch the set on his opponent’s serve.
And the No1 seed got the pivotal break to move 3-1 up in the decider. Cilic battled bravely and saved a match point in his final service game, but Murray then held to clinch his third title in west London.
Elsewhere, World No3 Roger Federer beat Mikhail Youzhny at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle to claim his first tournament victory since last August.
The Swiss star saw off his Russian adversary 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 to claim the 77th victory of his glistening career.
“I was satisfied with my game in the past 10 months,” said Federer. “Maybe people thought I was playing badly, but that was not the case. I have won a lot in my career, but not recently.
“I was playing well, but when it mattered the others were just better.”
BRITISH No6 Elena Baltacha ensured her fitness woes are firmly behind her by winning the Aegon Challenge final in straight sets yesterday in Nottingham.
The 29-year-old underwent an operation on her foot following last summer’s Olympic Games and considered retirement during her nine-month lay-off.
But Baltacha pulled off a 7-5, 7-6 victory over Slovenia’s Tadeja Majeric to underline her return to full strength.
“It is quite amazing really,” said the world No217. “I’ve not played for nine months, but this felt like my time.”