Nicolas Mahut has become a one man wrecking crew against Andy Nation. Last month the Frenchmen ousted Andy Roddick from the first round at the French Open. Today, in the second round at Queen’s Mahut shocked home favorite and top seed Andy Murray in a third set tiebreak 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(1).
“It was a very close match,” Murray said. “Losing serve at the beginning of the third set after breaking him was probably not great. Got him back into the match. He’s a very good grass court player. He’s been in the final here. He’s beaten Nadal and a point away from winning the tournament.
“I was hitting the ball fine today. It wasn’t like I was shanking balls and mishitting. I just need to spend more time on the grass.”
Murray had won the Queen’s title twice and after a poor clay campaign was hopeful of finding some form before the all-important Wimbledon-Olympics stretch. Murray yet play next week accepting a wildcard before the Championships.
Mahut plays his best tennis on the grass and he did beat Rafael Nadal on the same courts when he reached the Queen’s final in 2007. A month later that season he also made the Newport final.
“My best win before was [Rafael] Nadal here on the same court, centre court, so it’s a lucky court for me,” said Mahut. “Rafa was a very good performance, but today beating Andy Murray here in Queen’s, it’s very special, but it’s only second round.”
The other Andy, Andy Roddick, didn’t fare any better. The four-time Queen’s champion suffered a six straight loss falling to Mahut’s countryman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
“I thought I had a look there in the third set, and honestly I felt like I was going to take that thing once I turned it. Didn’t work out that way,” Roddick said. “The guy played great. I didn’t hit the ball too badly. I’ve certainly played a lot worse this year so far.”
Roddick has not won a match since Miami in March when he beat Federer and the defeat Wednesday further flames speculation that this will be his last season on the tour. Roddick, who turns 30 in August, is ranked No. 32 this week and could go unseeded at Wimbledon.
With the Andys out, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic and Feliciano Lopez are left to headline the event.
There’s no shortage of star power in Halle where tomorrow tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal open their grass campaigns.
Nadal joined Marcel Granollers for some early Olympic prep in an early doubles win today. Tomorrow the French Open champion meets Lukas Lacko.
“The real thing for me is more preparation for the singles [match] tomorrow, to compete, to spend time on the court, to serve a bit, to adapt to the conditions on grass,” Nadal said. “That’s probably going to help.”
Five-time champ Federer plays Florian Mayer. With a win the Swiss would meet Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals on Friday.
HALLE SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 14 JUNE, 2012
CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
L Kubot (POL) vs  P Kohlschreiber (GER)
[WC] T Haas (GER) vs  M Granollers (ESP)
 R Nadal (ESP) vs L Lacko (SVK)
F Mayer (GER) vs  R Federer (SUI)
QUEEN’S SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 14 JUNE, 2012
CENTRE start 12:30 pm
N Mahut (FRA) vs G Dimitrov (BUL)
I Dodig (CRO) vs  J Tsonga (FRA)
Y Lu (TPE) vs  J Tipsarevic (SRB)
 D Nalbandian (ARG) vs E Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
 M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN) vs [WC] L Hewitt (AUS) / A Roddick (USA)
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