LONDON (Reuters) - Andy Murray gave his fans a fright before recovering to beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic to win the Aegon Championships for the third time at Queen’s Club on Sunday.
The world number two, who missed the French Open with a back injury, won a rain-delayed final 5-7 7-5 6-3 to give himself a timely boost for Wimbledon which starts in eight days.
Murray, runner-up at Wimbledon last year, suffered a painful looking slip when leading 4-3 in the first set, yelping in pain and rolling to the turf in apparent distress, and went on to lose the opener against the defending champion.
“The courts had taken a bit of a pounding this week and it’s been extremely wet,” Murray, who had a break point when he took his tumble, said on court before preparing for a doubles exhibition match against coach Ivan Lendl, in aid of a cancer charity.
“It was just a bit sore on the groin area but thankfully it wasn’t too bad.”
Murray looked in complete control in the opening set, breaking Cilic’s opening service game with ease and moving comfortably into a 4-2 lead.
However, his afternoon soon took a turn for the worse.
Cilic took advantage of some Murray errors to break back in the seventh game but looked set to hand Murray the initiative again in the following game as he slipped 15-40 behind.
He saved the first break point but on the second the 26-year-old Murray slipped awkwardly behind the baseline and cried out in pain as the crowd watched on anxiously.
Murray continued but looked a little tentative and Cilic took advantage to break in the 11th game and serve out the set.
The second set went with serve until Cilic wavered at 5-6. A silky lob from Murray gave him a glimmer of a break and he took his chance to level the match.
With sunshine finally bathing the court after a rain-hit week, the home favourite produced some dazzling winners in the final set to wrap up the title.
“He is one of the best grasscourt players in the world and we’ve known each other since juniors and played a lot of tough matches,” Murray said of Cilic.
“He was playing very well at the end of the second set and I was a bit fortunate to come through.”
U.S. Open champion Murray, who will be trying to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936 when the grasscourt slam begins on June 24, also won the Queens title in 2009 and 2011.
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Toby Davis