Reuters - Tue, 08 Jun 20:20:00 2010
Defending champion Andy Murray kicked off his grass-court campaign with a 7-6(8) 6-3 win over Spaniard Ivan Navarro at the AEGON Championship at Queen's.
Third seed Murray, who last year became the first Briton to win the title in 71 years, initially seemed taken aback at the sight of a serve-and-volleying Spaniard but once he had gotten over that shock he found his groove to book a place in the third round.
"Tricky play, not what you expect from a Spaniard coming forward on every point," Murray said in a courtside interview.
That win, and the feel of grass beneath him, would have come as a relief to Murray who has endured a wretched run since finishing runner-up to Roger Federer at the Australian Open.
He has yet to win a title in 2010 and went out in the fourth round of the French Open. At times on Tuesday it seemed as if Murray had forgotten that he had left the claycourts behind as he repeatedly slapped his heels - as if trying to get the red dust from the sole of his shoes.
Murray would also have expected Navarro - whose stocky build would not have put him out of place on a rugby pitch - to hug the baseline since the world number 108 hails from Alicante.
But Navarro showed off his grasscourt skills as he attacked the net at every opportunity and with a little more experience he could have stolen the first set off Murray.
"I just managed to get him in the tiebreak but it was definitely tough," said Murray, who walked into his news conference holding a large ice pack wrapped around his right knee.
"It's nice to see someone serve and volley. I haven't played a serve-and-volleyer this year so it was tricky and he did it very well."
Roddick, who like Murray took an early flight out of Paris, barely gave anyone a chance to admire Kunitsyn's game as he blew away his luckless challenger in 50 scorching minutes.
"I'm excited to be here...it's a comfortable adjustment for me," a beaming Roddick said as he fiddled with his white baseball cap.
While Murray and Roddick were glad to finish their matches in one take, others had to endure a stop-start day as rain swept across west London.
Sixth seed Gael Monfils probably felt he would have been better off joining fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau in kicking around a football on the practice courts after he went down 6-3 6-7(4) 6-2 to Germany's Rainer Schuettler.
While Llodra and Benneteau appeared to spend their day off gearing up for the football World Cup, which begins on Friday, Monfils spent his time slipping and sliding over on his taped knees.
A one hour rain break at 6-6 in the second set offered him some respite, as upon resumption he won the tiebreak 7-4, but the elastic-limbed Monfils eventually bounced out.
Aegon Championship – Queen’s Club: Every day 12.15pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) & on the Eurosport Player.