After a great first match working under new coach Amelie Mauresmo beating Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-4, British number one and defending champion Andy Murray crashed out of the Aegon Championships at The Queens Club in London in the first major shock of the tournament, earlier this week in round three. It was Murray’s first defeat on grass since his Wimbledon final against Roger Federer in 2012 and his nineteen-match winning streak on grass was brought to an abrupt end by Czech player Radek Stepanek who defeated him 7-6 (12-10), 6-2.
With Murray’s hopes of winning a fourth Aegon Championship title dashed he will return to the grass when he opens play as defending champion at Wimbledon on Monday 23rd June. On the plus side he has extra time to work with Mauresmo ahead of the Wimbledon challenge. Murray was not without chances and broke Stepanek’s serve in the first game but then lost his own, not taking advantage of a strong 6-2 lead in the tie-break.
Speaking to BBC sport Murray said, “I have only got myself to blame that I lost the first set. I don’t know how many set points I had, but quite a lot of them were on my serve.” he continued “On this surface especially, you shouldn’t really be losing sets like that. For me, that’s what’s disappointing about the match. Then unfortunately I got broken in the first game of the second set. I couldn’t quite get it back. The tie-break was tough.”
Jamie Murray, brother of Andy is keeping the British dream alive with partner John Peers after winning their doubles semi-match against seventh seed Julien Benneteau/Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 7-6. They face second seeds Alexander Peya/Bruno Soares in tomorrows final.
In other shock news, top seed and World Number three Stanislas Wawrinka was knocked out of the tournament in today’s semi-final by Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-4 in just over an hour. Tenth seed Feliciano Lopez beat Stepanek in the second semi-final 7-6, 6-4. Tomorrow will also see the ‘Rally For Bally’ Doubles Exhibition matches at the three Aegon events at The Queen’s Club in West London, Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham and Devonshire Park in Eastbourne. All funds raised will go to the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis (EBAT) and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity (read more here). To donate please go to www.justgiving.com/RallyForBally.
French Open champion and top seed Rafael Nadal suffered a shocking straight-sets defeat in his first match on grass this season when Dustin Brown won their match 6-4, 6-1 at the ATP Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. In the semi-finals today Colombian Alejandro Falla defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber from Germany 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 to book his place in tomorrows final against Roger Federer who beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-6.
Nadal made a very early exit in Germany (source:www.bbc.com/sport/tennis)
Over at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, tomorrow’s final will see top seed Ana Ivanovic take on Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova. Ivanovic defeated Shuai Zhang 6-2, 6-2 in their semi-final and Zahlavova-Strycova beat Australian Casey Dellacqua 7-6, 6-1.