AEGON Champs: Murray flies the flag
Originally published on: 08/06/10 21:02
The familiar scene of ‘rain stops play’ probably came at the right time for Alex Bogdanovic on Monday evening. He’d managed to take the first set against 19-year-old Grigor Dimitrov, only to lose a break in the second to wave any hopes of a quick passage into round two goodbye. Come the third, the momentum had swung the way of the 19-year-old Bulgarian, (whose elegant ground strokes have even been compared to that Swiss bloke with the giant trophy cabinet). Anywho, no drama. Nothing a good night’s kip wouldn’t solve…
Perhaps not. The 26-year-old Brit was met with a rude awakening on return to another rain-affected day’s play at Queens. Either Bogdanovic tumbled out of the wrong side of bed this morning or Dimitrov – ranked 194 places below him – really is destined to live up to the early hype. There is of course a third option, but perhaps we’ll avoid a rant at the talents of Britain’s finest male players for today…
Two double faults from the Brit handed over the break on resumption of their tie, and it was all Dimitrov needed to seal a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory.
“Two double faults in one game…It’s quite a lot,” lamented Bogdanovic afterwards. “I kind of handed it over to him.”
And so there was one….
(Since the “Brit watch” is now otherwise redundant, it’s only fair the defending champ has his own section).
World No.108 Ivan Navarro set his sights on undoing the Scot with his vintage style of play on day two, and the Alicante native didn’t half make a good fist of it in the opening set. “It’s nice to see someone serve and volley,” admitted Murray after seeing out a close first set for a 7-6(8) 6-3 victory. “I haven’t played a serve and volleyer this year. This is the first time, so it was tricky and he did it very well.”
Shoot the stocky Alicante native a quick glance and you couldn’t help but think an enthusiastic club player had snuck his way past security for a cheeky hit with the world No.4. The Spaniard confirmed those suspicions immediately when his first offering in the warm-up was a limp forehand that barely made it to the foot of the net. Even more so, when he lined up for his service action, hoiked up his shorts and bounced the ball a little too enthusiastically – nine times at first count. There was nothing quirky about what followed – a thunderous serve that Murray took a while to read. One spectator in particular would probably rather the British No.1 had got to grips with Navarro’s overhead a little quicker, since the ball rocketed off the frame of the Scot’s racket and struck her square in the face. Still, small price to pay for a decent vantage point…
The Scot eventually broke the Spaniard’s plucky resistance in the first game of the second set, having taken the first in a captivating tiebreak with a cross-court backhand pass that whizzed past the on-rushing Navarro and nestled in the far corner.
“I started returning well and had some good passing shots. You know, that’s what grass court tennis is like. Quick reactions, quick reflexes,” Murray offered afterwards, having gone on to comfortably see out the remainder of the match.
Four-time Queens champ Andy Roddick made quick work of his opening round match, firing 12 aces on his way to a 6-2 6-1 victory over Igor Kunitsyn. The win was his 30th at Queens Club, and he’s clearly delighted to be back on grass. “It’s a welcome change,” said Roddick after completing his first match since his third round defeat to Teimuraz Gabashvili at the French Open. “It’s a much more comfortable adjustment for me. I’m excited to be here.”
Good day for: Rainer Schuettler. The 34-year-old former Wimbledon semi-finalist rolled back the years for a 6-3 6-7 6-2 victory over Gael Monfils – ten and a half years his junior.
Bad day for: Gael Monfils. The Frenchman had to call the trainer out when trailing 3-0 in the first set after twisting his knee. “The court was a bit of a problem during the whole match,” said Monfils, who defied his early injury for a trademark full-length-dive-into-barrel-roll across the grass in the final set.
And for tomorrow…
Rafael Nadal is second up on centre court for his clash against Brazilian Marcos Daniel, after Bogdanovic’s conqueror Dimitrov takes on Feliciano Lopez. Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic are also set to feature on centre, while Sam Querrey takes on fellow American Robby Ginepri on Court 1.