LONDON, June 23: Former World No. 1 Andy Murray’s dream return continued on Saturday as he and Feliciano Lopez progressed to the doubles final at Queen’s, beating the defending champions in the semifinals.
Andy Murray of Britain and partner Feliciano Lopez of Spain celebrate a match point during the Queen’s Club Championships semifinal against Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia at the Queens Club in London.
The 32-year-old, who is making his first competitive appearance since what he termed “life-changing” hip surgery, and his partner Feliciano Lopez came through 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 10-7 against John Peers of Australia and his Finnish partner Henri Kontinen.
“It was a good match. We obviously had some chances to finish it in the second set,” said Murray.
“I’m very happy to be in the final.” Murray, who said he felt zero pain in his hip but that his back was stiff and his arm tired from serving, said he had not expected to get this far.
“I didn’t have high expectations at all,” he said.
“Yeah, I think things have probably got a little bit better maybe with each match, as well.
“I didn’t expect to be playing in the final, no, that’s for sure.” Murray, who was surprised to hear Maria Sharapova had offered to be his partner in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon despite him slamming her when she failed a dope test, had attracted a visit from former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho whilst he was practising before his match.
“Yeah, he just wished me well,” said Murray.
“Was asking a bit about my hip and asked him what he was up to, try and see if he was going to come to Arsenal,” added the avid Gunners fan with a smile.
Murray may have been the reason for keeping the stands packed – although they thinned out a bit by the end – but he owed a lot to an extraordinary effort by 37-year-old Lopez.
The Spaniard effectively stayed on centre court for most of the day – winning his singles semifinal in three sets.
Then he and Murray polished off their unfinished quarterfinal before a marathon effort in the doubles semifinal.
Lopez said that if anyone had told him he would have played this much a week ago he would have said they were “crazy.” He was also generous in his praise of Murray. – AFP