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Tennis: Murray's comeback ends in defeat; Federer cruises

June 20, 2018 00:00 IST

Defending champion Roger Federer continued his fine run on grass ahead of Wimbledon with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in the opening round of the Halle Open.

Andy Murray

IMAGE: Andy Murray reacts during his first round match against Australia's Nick Kyrgios. Photograph: Tony O'Brien/Reuters

Former world number one Andy Murray's comeback from a year-long injury layoff was ended by Nick Kyrgios at Queen's Club on Tuesday but only after the Briton produced a typically dogged display of resistance.

The 31-year-old Murray looked on course for a dream return from right hip surgery as he took the first set against the erratic Australian but eventually succumbed 2-6 7-6(4) 7-5.


While the result, his first defeat in six matches against Kyrgios, was not what most of those on a sun-kissed centre court had wanted to see, Murray's general play and mobility were a heartening sight as Wimbledon approaches.

Despite looking fatigued near the end, the old fighting spirit was alive and well as he saved two match points at 4-5 in the decider. Kyrgios then saved a break point at 5-5 and an engrossing duel ended when Murray double-faulted.

Kyrgios had looked distracted in the opening set, surrendering three service games with wild double-faults and playing several outrageous party shots, but he buckled down and played some outstanding tennis.

"Obviously we are good mates and it was great to see him back and healthy," Kyrgios, who lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals on grass in Stuttgart last week, said.

"I asked him at the end if he felt healthy and he said yeah, which is the main thing.

"It was nice to finally get a win over him but I can't really count it. He came out really good and I kind of expected that. Personally I feel good. I was out for two-and-a-half months so I'm feeling good."

Federer marches past Bedene

Roger Federer

IMAGE: Roger Federer in action during his first round match against ljaz Bedene. Photograph: Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Defending champion Roger Federer continued his fine run on grass ahead of Wimbledon with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in the opening round of the Halle Open on Tuesday, while second-seeded Alexander Zverev suffered an early exit.

The 36-year-old Swiss, who reclaimed the number one ranking by winning the Stuttgart title last week, broke his 72nd ranked opponent in the second game and maintained the advantage to claim the first set.

Federer dropped just eight points on his serve and was hardly troubled in a one-sided contest as he converted a decisive break point in the ninth game of the second set to march to victory.

"I got out of the box well, I felt good right away," Federer said. "This is an easier court to play than last week in Stuttgart.

"The ball bounces up higher into my strike zone. I was connecting well on returns and I could read his serve."

Chasing a record-extending 10th title in Halle, Federer will next look to improve his 6-0 head-to-head advantage over Frenchman Benoit Paire, who beat American Steve Johnson 7-5 7-6(5).

World number three Zverev began his grasscourt campaign with a disappointing 6-1, 6-4 defeat by Croatian Borna Coric.

The German dropped his serve four times in an erratic display as Coric clinched his 20th match win of the season.

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