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Britain’s Andy Murray of Britain in action against Nick Kyrgios of Australia during their first round match at the Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club in London, Britain, 19 June 2018. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL



By Ricky Dimon


Andy Murray had not played a match in 342 days. Nick Kyrgios is Nick Kyrgios. A roller-coaster affair is what as expected at the Fever-Tree Championships on Tuesday and a roller-coaster affair is exactly what the viewers got.


This opening-round showdown at Queen’s Club between Murray and Kyrgios was predictably bizarre, but what it lacked in quality in made up for in drama and entertainment as the 23-year-old got the best of the British crowd favorite with a 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 win.


Sidelined by a serious hip issue since losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last summer, Murray made a quick start in his comeback match. The former world No. 1 was helped by the fact that Kyrgios came out in typical Kyrgios fashion–visibly struggling both physically and mentally–and Murray made the most of his chance by breaking serve at 3-2 and 5-2. Whereas the Scot produced solid tennis, the Aussie was in borderline exhibition mode.


Both men seemed to be struggling midway through the second set–Kyrgios with an apparent knee problem while Murray kept feeling out his lower back. Neither player appeared overly interested in going three, but Kyrgios somehow found the will to battle through the second and force a decider.


In the third, Murray competed well but was always on the defensive. The three-time major champion fought off the first five break points he faced–including two match points at 4-5–while generating only one such opportunity of his own. Murray finally buckled under the pressure while serving to stay alive a second time at 5-6, ultimately double-faulting on match point No. 3.


“I thought I did okay,” Murray assessed. “I certainly could have done some stuff better, at the beginning of the second set I thought my level at times was good; sometimes not so good. I’m really happy that I got on the match court today and played,” said Murray. “It was a close decision. I have not been practicing loads at all…. I really haven’t played a whole lot of tennis, so I’m happy I got out there and competed and performed respectably.”


“He returns unbelievable,” Kyrgios said of the Scot. “Everything is the same, really. He’s just got to get matches under his belt. It was great to see him back and see him healthy…. Obviously there was a lot of thoughts going out there. I’m happy I pulled it through.”


“The expectations are going to rise on Andy Murray after this performance,” former Great Britain Davis Cup captain John Lloyd noted. “He still has a bit of work to do, but for a first match back it was remarkable. The first set looked like a normal first set. He made a few errors and in the third he played well. It was an extraordinary performance considering he has been out for nearly a year.”


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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