Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Andy Murray in the winning routine

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: Andy Murray of Great Britain signs autographs in the crowd after winning his Men's Singles second round match against Xavier Malisse of Belgium on day three of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club on June 8, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Andy Murray launched his Wimbledon preparations with a three-set victory over Xavier Malisse at the AEGON Championships.

The British number one booked a meeting with Serbian Janko Tipsarevic in the third round at Queen's Club after beating Malisse 6-3 5-7 6-3.

Murray took the court with his right ankle heavily strapped after suffering tendon damage during his run to the French Open semi-final.

Malisse barely tested Murray in the opening games, as the world number four claimed an early break and raced into a 3-0 lead before rain stopped play.

The match resumed with Murray serving at 3-1 and 15-15 but a long forehand and a volley into the net gifted Malisse two break points his sloppy start hardly deserved.

Murray responded with an ace, forced the game to deuce and held his serve when Malisse planted the ball into the net, ending the longest rally of the match so far.

Murray went on to clinch the first set 6-3 and started the second strongly, with a fierce forehand taking him to 0-30 on Malisse's serve.

But the Belgian recovered to go 2-1 up and began to grow into the contest as the set wore on. He was volleying well and fired down a pair of aces to edge into a 5-4 lead.

Murray worked himself two break points at 5-5 but Malisse saved them both, the first with a powerful forehand winner down the line. It was a wasted opportunity from Murray and Malisse capitalised, working himself two break points and forcing the match into a deciding set.

Murray held his own serve with two aces and then clinched a decisive break to go 3-1 up as Malisse sent a forehand long.

Murray had to dig in to save two break points at 3-2 but he did so and then broke Malisse again to seal the victory.

Murray admitted his ankle had caused him some discomfort at times but he put that down to the difficulties in adapting from a clay to a grass-court surface.

“(My ankle) was all right. It was a little bit sore at times, I've just got to get used to the new surface,” said Murray, who complained earlier this week at the short turnaround between the French Open and Wimbledon.

“It's a little bit sore. It's getting better every day. I've just got to keep doing the right things.

“The movement is something that takes a bit of time. I actually moved pretty well today considering it was the first match. It's good to get through.”

Murray faces Tipsarevic in the next round after the Serb beat American Michael Russell.

The Scot added: “He's a very good player. I lost to him here a few years ago. He's a good grass court player, a tricky opponent. I have to play better than today if I want to win that one.”

World number one Rafael Nadal eased through to the next round, defeating Matthew Ebden 6-4 6-4.

The Spaniard, who retained his French Open crown at the weekend in Paris, will now face Radek Stepanek.

Nadal said: “I feel a little tired because I had a tough Roland Garros but I’m here to try my best as always.”

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