Murray, Federer win on grass

andy murray with the coveted trophy

andy murray with the US open trophy: $2.6m prize for 2013 champion

For Roger Federer and Andy Murray, it was a Sunday of victories.

Murray, number two tennis player in the world, won his third Aegon Championships title and completed the perfect preparation for Wimbledon with victory over Marin Cilic at Queen’s Club. The Briton’s serve was especially impressive as he won the rain-delayed final 5-7 7-5 6-3.

Roger Federer won his sixth Halle title and the 77th win of his career, beating Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 in the ATP final at Halle.

The victory was Federer first title of the year , and the first since Cincinnati on the eve of the US Open in 2012.

His 77th title also saw him draw level with John McEnroe in third position in the all-time career titles list.

After losing the opening set, the former world number one battled back to preserve his perfect record over Youzhny in 15 meetings in over two hours of play.

“Winning solves everything. I am satisfied with my game, confident, fresh and excited about what lies ahead,” said Federer who will be chasing a record eighth Wimbledon title from next week.

“There’s always a few things I can work on but I can think about that between now and the start of Wimbledon.”

For Federer, beaten by Rafael Nadal in his only previous final appearance of 2013 on the clay in Rome and brushed aside by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the French Open quarter-finals, this was the ideal preparation ahead of his Wimbledon defence.

The top seed, who overcame veteran German Tommy Haas in Saturday’s semi-final, was thrilled to finally get off the mark for the year.

“Mikhail has produced a great tournament, that’s why I’m so happy to have won,” he said.

“I had to fight hard to remain in the race in the second set. I served well (he produced 12 aces) and that’s what saved me today.”

Federer missed five break points in the first set, four of them coming in the opening game, before coming off second best in the tie break after one hour of play.

andy murray with the US open trophy: wins another trophy at Aegon
andy murray with the US open trophy: wins another trophy at Aegon

But he fought back to level the encounter against the Russian, going on to win the match with a love game on his service.

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Federer had won this grass court title four years in succession from 2003 to 2006 and again in 2008.

Sunday’s win was his 13th trophy on grass.

Federer, who now has a 43-5 career record at Halle, had been in impressive form at the tournament with a 39-minute, 6-0, 6-0 win over German qualifier Mischa Zverev in the quarter-finals, only the second double-bagel of his career.

He then saw off defending champion Tommy Haas in a tight three-setter in the semi-finals.

“To lose the first set twice and still win, it’s a great feeling,” said Federer.

For Murray, taking the trophy capped a week that proved the ideal return from the back injury which forced him to miss the French Open.
Murray, the world number two, will now turn his attention to a week of practice before resuming his quest for a first Wimbledon title.

A second Monday final in three years had looked a possibility at Queen’s, but after a rain delay of over three hours, and one aborted attempt to start, play began at 15:29 BST.

Murray made the first breakthrough with a whipped cross-court forehand in game two and served his way out of trouble facing three break points in the next, but from 4-1 the tide began to turn.

Two forehands dragged down into the net saw the Scot give up his advantage, and when he fell awkwardly while trying in vain to convert a break point in the next game, the shriek of pain rang around the Centre Court.

Murray dusted himself down and carried on, albeit rather cautiously, but the momentum was now with Cilic and the fifth seed broke again for 6-5, before fending off two break points to take the set.

The sun was finally shining on Centre Court as the second set began, and Murray’s fortunes brightened as his serve clicked into gear.
Cilic managed to cling on in the face of three breaks points in game five, but unable to make any headway against Murray’s serve, the pressure was always quickly back upon him.
The Croat almost made it to the shoot-out of a tie-break but a brilliant lob set Murray on the way to a break in game 12, and Cilic netted a forehand on set point.

As he did in Saturday’s semi-final win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Murray accelerated towards the finish line with some sublime play in the final set.

It was Cilic errors that led to the decisive break in game four, but they came amid a string of wonderful shots from Murray, who followed a deft backhand volley with a searing pass down the line in game five.
The Scot narrowly missed out on breaking again at 4-1 and 5-2, when he netted a backhand on his first match point, but his serve remained impregnable.

After denying his opponent a single break point in sets two or three, he moved to match point again with a forehand winner and took the title when Cilic put a forehand into the net.

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