• Aegon Championships

Murray beats Cilic for Queen's title

ESPN staff
June 16, 2013
Andy Murray was made to work for his win over Marin Cilic © Getty Images

It has been a tough few weeks for British No. 1 Andy Murray.

The Scot was forced to quit the Internazionali BNL d'Italia before withdrawing from the French Open with a back injury so severe he admitted he struggled to get up-and-down stairs.

But there were no signs of mobility problems as Murray clinched the Aegon Championships title at Queen's to head into Wimbledon in peak form after a 5-7 7-5 6-3 victory over Marin Cilic.

The players twice came out to warm up for the final only to be hauled back into the locker room as the rain started wreaking havoc in South West London.

When play did eventually start, three hours late, Murray wasted no time in racing into a 2-0 lead thanks to a rasping cross-court forehand to win the third of three break points.

The first set was barely ten minutes old and Cilic already looked well and truly out of it, but the Croatian seemed determined not to make it a walk in the park for his opponent and immediately broke back after a wild forehand from Murray landed well long.

Murray had British hearts in mouths when he slipped during the first set © Getty Images

With the tide turning, there was a worrying moment for Murray - and British fans everywhere - as he skipped across the baseline and lost his footing, letting out a yelp of discomfort as he went down.

Worry over, Murray immediately put minds at ease by racing onto a Cilic drop shot, but his return found the net and the match was level for the first time at 4-4.

With Cilic in the ascendancy, the fifth seed forced his way to two more break points before a clumsy forehand from Murray gifted the game to his opponent - his racket bearing the brunt of his anger as he smashed it into the Centre Court turf.

Serving for the first set, Cilic allowed Murray into a 15-40 lead before some big serves from the Croatian finally get the job done to leave the Queen's crowd wondering why he was not following the script.

The second set was a fascinating encounter, with neither player giving an inch in a display of thunderous forehands and decisive backhands as both refused to give up their serve. Then, at 6-5, Murray whipped across the baseline and executed a delicious lob over his six-foot-five opponent to set up set point.

It proved to be the turning point for Murray, champion at Queen's in 2009 and 2011, who shifted into top gear and as early as the third game forced Cilic into the mistake which earned the break that would ultimately win Murray the match.

Cilic was very much on the back foot at this point and had clearly running out of ideas. Murray, meanwhile, was turning it on and produced one of the shots of the tournament in the sixth game as some sensational court coverage culminated in the unlikeliest of backhands to leave Cilic looking on in disbelief.

And while Cilic managed to save one match point on his own serve, Murray made no mistake in the next game for his third Queen's title.

Murray lifts his third Queen's title © Getty Images

"I worked very hard in the time I had off to try and get myself back in the best shape possible," Murray said after his win. "It was down to my team, who have been very patient with me, that I was able to come out here and play so tough the last two matches.

"Marin is one of the best grass players in the world and we have had some great matches over the years since our time together as juniors. I was lucky to come through in the end as he was playing some very good tennis."

Cilic, champion at Queen's last year, added: "It was a great match from both sides and a great level of tennis. Andy showed he's a great fighter - and I congratulate him for his win here.

"It was an extremely good week for me, I enjoyed all my matches. I had some tough fights and enjoyed today in front of a full crowd. I hope I can continue with my good form and come back next year."

Murray will now turn his attention to a week of practice, before resuming his quest for a first title at Wimbledon.

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