After a nice rebound at the French Open from an otherwise lackluster clay season, Andy Murray’s return to form took a big hit Tuesday as the defending champion was stunned in his Queen’s opener by lucky loser Jordan Thompson 7-6(4), 6-2.
Thompson only gained a late entry when Brit Aljaz Bedene withdraw. And the 23-year-old Aussie had never even won a grass match before.
“He played better than me,” said Murray who won just 55% of his first serves, a trouble area all season. “The first set there was not much in it. I made some mistakes in the middle part of the tie-break, which gifted it to him a little bit.
“I didn’t create loads of chances, really. I didn’t return particularly well. He served big. He served well.”
The 5-time champion dropped the opener but just when it felt like Murray would get on track he was broken early in the second, and the youngster breezed to the biggest victory of his career.
“Definitely, beating the World No. 1 and Grand Slam champion, and beating him on grass at Queen’s,” Thompson said. “Yeah, it’s definitely ranked No. 1.”
It was the earliest exit for Murray at Queen’s in 11 years since 2006 and it marked the first time since 2015 Cincinnati that the Scot failed to break serve in a match (streak of 136 matches is over).
Murray now heads to a big title defense at Wimbledon with some doubt.
“A big blow, for sure. Obviously this tournament has given me great preparation in the past, and when I have done well here, Wimbledon has tended to go pretty well, too,” Murray said.
“Not ideal obviously, but guys have in the past also gone into Wimbledon having not won lots of matches,” he added. “But it certainly would have helped to have had more matches.”
Other results included Marin Cilic knocking out John Isner and a pair of top seeds went down as 2016 finalist Milos Raonic fell to the returning Thanasi Kokkinakis in two breakers and Stan Wawrinka was bounced by Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 7-5.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych and Grigor Dimitrov are in action on Wednesday.
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