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Mahut Survives Epic Against Lopez

London, England

Nicolas Mahut was one point away from claiming the title 12 months ago against Andy Roddick in the final.© Getty ImagesNicolas Mahut was one point away from claiming the title 12 months ago against Andy Roddick in the final.

Last year’s Artois Championships runner-up Nicolas Mahut was made to battle all the way by Spanish left hander Feliciano Lopez before booking his place in the second round at The Queen’s Club.

Mahut, who was one point away from claiming the title 12 months ago against Andy Roddick in the final, eventually came through 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(4) to upset the No. 14 seed Lopez on Tuesday.

The Frenchman, unseeded this year, produced 27 aces during the 2-hour, 23-minute match and will now face big-serving John Isner in the second round after the American overcame South African Kevin Anderson 7-6(5), 6-4.

Meanwhile, 2005 runner-up Ivo Karlovic fired down 19 aces of his own en route to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Australian qualifier Josheph Sirianni.

The 6’10” Croatian, who lost to Andy Roddick in the final three years ago, will now meet either No. 10 seed Fernando Gonzalez or former World No. 1 Marat Safin for a place in the quarterfinals.

Karlovic’s countryman Mario Ancic also reached the third round, defeating Spanish lefty Fernando Verdasco 7-6(6), 6-4, but Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu ended what could have been a perfect day for Croatians with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Marin Cilic.

Murray Handed Victory After Grosjean Injury
 
Andy Murray’s first match on grass for almost two years was short-lived after Sebastien Grosjean retired after just two games due to a left thigh injury.

Murray, seeded No. 6 at The Artois Championships, was leading 2-0 when the two-time runner-up Grosjean called an early end to proceedings at The Queen’s Club.

“I would have rather to have won the match normally,” said Murray. “You get a bit more confidence from that. I got a good hour, hour and 15 minutes on the court last night for the doubles, which helped, and I felt pretty comfortable on the shots that I did hit in that match, which was good.”

The British No. 1, who missed last year’s grass court campaign because of a wrist injury, will now meet either Andreas Seppi or Ernests Gulbis in the third round.

Meanwhile, British wild card Dan Evans endured a tough debut at The Artois Championships after going down 6-1, 6-1 to former Wimbledon semifinalist Xavier Malisse.

The 18-year-old from Birmingham, who was playing in his first ATP tournament, had his serve broken five times by the Belgian during the 49-minute match.

“It was the experience I was looking for,” said Evans. “Obviously, I lost 6 1, 6 1, but it wasn't all doom and gloom. I got to play on a big court. Obviously better than playing on one of the outside courts. So next time when I have that opportunity, I'll be maybe one step ahead of the person who I play.

“It was a good opportunity for me. I could have done better, but it doesn't always go the way you want it to go.”

Malisse will now face four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt in the second round.

Elsewhere on day two, British qualifier Richard Bloomfield battled hard in the first set against No. 10 seed Fernando Gonzalez but eventually went down 7-6(5), 6-3 in the first round.

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