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Murray is king at Queen's

June 14, 2009 23:11 IST

Andy Murray became the first British champion at Queen's Club for 71 years on Sunday when he beat American James Blake 7-5, 6-4 in the final of the grasscourt event.

With just over a week to go before Wimbledon begins on June 22, the victory will provide the world number three with a much-needed boost as he aims to end the stranglehold of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the All England Club.

"I was quite nervous today because people kept telling me no one (British) had won here for 70-odd years so that got the nerves going, especially when I served for the match but it was a very good week," the top seed said during the presentation ceremony.

"I've played some of the best tennis I've ever played in my life so I had a good week. The only thing left is to try and get a grand slam now and I hope (I can) in a couple of weeks."

It was the 12th title of Murray's career and the first by a British man on grass since Greg Rusedski took the Newport trophy in 2005.

Murray's triumph raised hopes he could become the first home-grown champion at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

"I'm a long way from winning Wimbledon but I feel confident and I don't want to get too far ahead of myself," said Murray.

"If I play my best like I did this week I've got a chance but we've got two of the greatest players of all time who are going to be there and it will be tough to get past them."


On Sunday, the players were happy to trade an assortment of crafty angles, subtle spins and delicate dropshots before Murray suddenly turned on the power to outwit Blake.

Murray was the first to gain the breakthrough for a 2-1 lead with a sublime dropshot but barely had time to savour the moment as he lost the advantage in the next game.

It almost seemed as if Blake had caught Murray napping as the 22-year-old Scot surrendered his serve for only the second time this week when he stood rooted to the baseline and watched the American produce a sizzling forehand winner.

Both players refused to give an inch until the top seed broke for a 6-5 lead, with Blake paddling a forehand long on break point.

A Blake forehand error handed Murray the set after 35 minutes and that appeared to take the fight out of the bearded American.

Blake hung in until the seventh game but the way he surrendered his serve, tapping a backhand volley into the net, summed up his growing frustration.

Three games later, Murray broke into a wide grin as he saw Blake slap a service return into the net and went off to celebrate his moment of triumph by leaning over the side hoardings to give his mother Judy a kiss.

Despite a great run to the final, Blake was left to pick up his second runners-up cheque at the west London club.

"I don't think I saved one break point today," said the 29-year-old American. "He just played those points a little better than me today. That's frustrating but when it just turns on a couple points, I feel like I'm right there for Wimbledon. Hopefully Andy will be on the other side of the draw."

Bunny Austin was the last Briton to win the Queen's Club title in 1938.

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