Tue, Jun 16, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Murray ends drought with Queen’s title

RETURNING THE TITLE HOME The last time a Briton won the championship at the Queen’s Club was when Bunny Austin took the title more than 70 years ago, in 1938

REUTERS , LONDON

Britain’s Andy Murray returns a shot to James Blake of the US during their men’s singles final match at the Queen’s Club grass court tennis championships in London on Sunday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

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 next Monday, the victory will provide the world No. 3 with a much-needed boost as he aims to end the stranglehold of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the All England Club.

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.

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 savor 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.

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

■GERRY WEBER OPEN

AFP, HALLE, GERMANY

Germany’s Tommy Haas took his second top-10 scalp of the week to beat world No. 4 Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-7 (7/4), 6-1 in Sunday’s Gerry Weber Open and claim his first ATP tournament victory since Memphis in 2007.

Having also defeated top-10 player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round here, Haas again proved last year’s persistent shoulder injury is behind him by beating Djokovic, who has struggled on the grass on occasions this week.

This was the 31-year-old’s first win over Djokovic, the top seed here after French Open champion Roger Federer withdrew on Tuesday.

Having come from behind to beat compatriot Philipp Kohlschreiber in the semi-final, former world No. 2 Haas, now ranked 41st in the world, wasted no time to take the first set with ease after just over half an hour.

Djokovic had made hard work of beating qualifier Olivier Rochus from Belgium the day before in his semi-final and his faltering form continued on grass with Wimbledon just a week away.

The Serb regained some composure in the second set and with both players holding serve, a tie-breaker went Djokovic’s way when Haas double-faulted on his own serve.

At the start of the third set, Haas, who lost to Federer over five sets in Paris having squandered a 2-0 lead, broke Djokovic, but the Serb responded in the third game by racing into a 40-0 lead against serve for three break points.

Haas dug deep to hold his serve to take a 3-0 lead, but although Djokovic held his serve to make it 3-1, Haas raced through to win the next three games to claim victory in just over two hours.

■AEGON CLASSIC

REUTERS, LONDON

Little-known Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova won her first WTA title with a 6-0, 7-6 win over China’s Li Na at the Aegon Classic on Sunday.

Seeded 13, the 20-year-old Rybarikova used her serve-and-volley game effectively early on against the fourth seed to breeze through the first set.

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