Kyrgios beats Murray, Barty wins again
Nick Kyrgios scores his first win over Andy Murray to progress at Queen's Club, while there are grass-court wins for Ash Barty, Matt Ebden and Ajla Tomljanovic.
Nick Kyrgios came out on top of a dramatic three-setter to oust Andy Murray in the first round of the Queen’s Club Championships on Tuesday.
Kyrgios’s 2-6 7-6(4) 7-5 victory was his first in six attempts against the Brit, who most recently played and beat Kyrgios in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2016.
The pair followed Novak Djokovic and John Millman onto Centre Court at Queen’s Club; Djokovic dismissed the Queensland qualifier 6-2 6-1 in 64 minutes.
And it looked like it was going to be a similarly one-sided match when Murray coasted through the opening set, showing no apparent signs of rust despite it being his first competitive outing after 12 months on the sidelines due to a hip injury.
Kyrgios to Murray at the coin toss….”Do you remember how to do this, Andy??” #ClassicKyrgios
— Rob Koenig (@RobKoenigTennis) June 19, 2018
Kyrgios, who has himself battled an elbow injury for much of 2018, forged ahead 3-1 in the second set despite struggling with another ailment – this time what appeared to be a left hip injury.
Despite Murray breaking back for 4-4, Kyrgios stayed alive thanks to his serving prowess and back-court power, and sent the match into a decider.
Here, Murray’s back seemed to seize up, leading the TennisTV commentator to describe the contest as a “battle of the walking wounded”.
Murray fought gamely, saving break points in the second and sixth games and a pair of match points in the 10th game.
But, impressively, Kyrgios remained patient and didn’t falter. He fought off a break point in the 11th game to hold for 6-5, and sealed the win in the following game when Murray double faulted.
Next up for Kyrgios is another Briton, Kyle Edmund, who beat Ryan Harrison 7-6(4) 6-4 in the first round.
At the WTA event in Birmingham, Ash Barty picked up from where she left off in Nottingham with a straight-sets defeat of Oceane Dodin.
Barty, who won last week on grass in Nottingham for her first title of 2018, took her winning streak to six thanks to the 6-4 6-3 win over the big-hitting French qualifier, serving out the match at love.
The Queenslander finished with eight aces – taking her season tally to 152 – and 17 winners to 15 unforced errors, reiterating her grass-court prowess at the venue where she reached the final in 2017.
Barty will next face German Julia Goerges for a place in the quarterfinals; Goerges beat Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-4.
West Australian Matt Ebden was another player enjoying continued success on the lawns in 2018 following a 6-0 7-6(2) win over Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri in Halle.
Ebden last week reached the semifinals at the ATP grass-court event in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, moving to a career-high ranking this week as a result.
Ebden drops a bagel on Jaziri in 15 minutes. Whomp.
— René Denfeld (@Renestance) June 19, 2018
And now he’s into the last 16 at the German grass-court tournament – classified as a more prestigious 500-level event – where he will take on local Philipp Kohlschreiber.
With his victory over Jaziri, Ebden is projected to rise to world No.54.
The wins continue to come for Ajla Tomljanovic, who posted her third in a row at the grass-court event in Mallorca, Spain.
Tomljanovic notched two wins in qualifying and then saw off Magda Linette 6-3 6-4 on Tuesday in the first round of the main draw, closing out the match in 92 minutes.
The former world No.47 – who has won four of her past five matches on grass – next faces Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson for a place in the last eight.
A rung below the ATP and WTA tours, the grass-court tournament in Ilkley, England – a Challenger event on the men’s side and a 100K ITF event on the women’s – was the site of two Aussie victories on Tuesday.
Jordan Thompson, the No.1 seed, snapped a four-match losing streak with a 7-6(7) 6-2 win over Polish qualifier Kamil Majchrzak, while Jason Kubler ended a six-match losing run courtesy of a 6-4 7-6(3) triumph over former top-40 player Donald Young.
Akira Santillan went down in three sets to Canada’s Peter Polansky, while Jaimee Fourlis fell at the final qualifying hurdle to Bianca Andreescu, also of Canada.
Kyrgios will return to the Queen’s Club courts tomorrow, but this time in doubles – with Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, a four-time winner in singles at Queen’s.
Sam Stosur, meanwhile, will continue her campaign at the Mallorca Open when she battles Spanish wildcard Lara Arruabarrena in the second round.
In Ilkley, Jordan Thompson and Arina Rodionova will fly the Aussie flag when they play their second and first-round matches respectively.