Andy Murray came past two Brits and an ever-improving Milos Raonic to clinch the title at the ATP 500 event at the Queen’s Club this week, putting the cherry on top of a very impressive week with a comeback victory over the Canadian world #9 in the final to win his record fifth title at one of the most popular non-Slam events of the year amongst British tennis fans.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 19, 2016
Very impressive recovery from @andy_murray as he wins Queen's for the fifth time. Perfect preparation for Wimbledon again
— Simon Cambers (@scambers73) June 19, 2016
Our last report ended before the mouth-watering prospect of Murray coming up against the rising star of British tennis, Kyle Edmund, in the quarter-finals of the event, and the match was not a disappointing one. Edmund showed his up-and-coming credentials by taking a set off the world #2, but eventually Murray proved too strong, eventually emerging with a 6-4 3-6 6-1 victory over the 21-year-old, and as expected, the 29-year-old from Dunblane shared several words of encouragement across the net to the man who will most likely take up Murray’s mantle as British Number One after the Scot decides to call it a day.
Murray was then faced with a tricky semi-final against Marin Cilic, the fifth seed and world #13 – who is a Grand Slam Champion, remember, after his US Open triumph in 2014. Cilic can be hugely dangerous when on form, but again, Murray’s consistency shone through in the end, with 72% of first serves in and 14 aces to nullify the dangerous groundstrokes of the Croatian. Murray claimed 10 easy service holds to secure a 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory and set up a cracking final against big-serving Canadian Raonic.
Raonic, alongside Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem, is regarded as one of the younger players most likely to break into the seemingly-concreted top 4 of Djokovic, Murray, Federer and Nadal, at a #9 isn’t far away from doing so. Murray has already come across Raonic twice this year, further indicating the Canadian’s ability to hang on late into tournaments, and the Canadian almost toppled the Brit in the semis of the Australian Open in January, having led by two-sets-to-one before a classic Murray clawback saw the Brit through, only to be inevitably defeated by you-know-who in the final, so Murray would have be well aware of Raonic’s ability going into the match.
And even if he wasn’t, he definitely would have been after the Canadian took the first set thanks to a grinding tiebreak after both players refused to relent on serve in the opening set. Raonic, who incredibly had not been broken in the entire tournament,was playing some superb tennis, with a consistently powerful serve backed up with some horrifically vicious groundstrokes that Murray was struggling to cope with. Things got even worse for Murray after the Canadian broke serve for the first time in the match early in the second set to take a 3-0 lead. However, egged on by the vociferous home crowd, Murray dug deep and almost in the blink of an eye went from a set and a break down to seemingly in control of the entire match: at 3-1 on the Raonic serve, Murray upped the pressure and eventually broke the Canadian after 55 consecutive service holds with a ferocious backhand return cross-court, and from then one, it was all one-way traffic.
Five consecutive games later, Murray, at 5-3, was one game away from levelling the match, and although Raonic held serve for the first time in three attempts to force Murray to serve out the set, the Brit did so with aplomb to force a decider, with the momentum firmly with the world #2.
After a lengthy battling rally on break point in the opening game of the final set, a gorgeous drop shot from the Scot clinched a third break from four Raonic service games, and the Scot led for the remainder of the match, eventually wrapping up a 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3 victory, with the intensity and accuracy of Raonic’s game noticeably dipping towards the closing stages of the match. Credit to Murray, however, who faced just the one break point all match, and maintained a massively high level of tennis throughout against an opponent who will surely reach the very elite of the game in years to come.
Murray will now turn his attention to Wimbledon, of course, which kicks off in just one week’s time.