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Murray Captures Second Queen's Club Crown

London, England

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray fought from a set down to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

World No. 4 and home favourite Andy Murray captured his 17th ATP World Tour title on Monday as he defeated France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in the final of the AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club in London.

The Scot became the first British player to win multiple titles at The Queen’s Club since Francis Gordon Lowe triumphed in 1913-14 and 1925. Murray won his first ATP World Tour grass-court title at The Queen’s Club in 2009, with victory over James Blake. He is the eighth player in the Open Era to win at least two titles at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament.

Murray received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €77,500. He won his first ATP World Tour title since triumphing at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai (d. Federer) in October 2010.

"It's been one of the most fun weeks for me because the tennis, the last two matches was very good," said Murray. "It was relaxing. I said everyone thinks at this period of the year it's so stressful, you can't play, you can't enjoy yourself, you can't do anything. But I felt like I expressed myself on the court. I felt like I was hitting the ball really good. I enjoyed it."

With Wimbledon just a week away, 'Murray Mania' is set to kick off at SW19 over the next week, with the Dunblane native hoping to become the seventh player in the Open Era to win the Queen’s-Wimbledon double. Rafael Nadal was the last man to do so in 2008; before him, Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.

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"I'm going to Wimbledon with the feeling that I'm going to win the tournament," said Murray. "I don't think you can go in with any other attitude. I feel like I'm playing good tennis. I'll need to improve the next week or so and work on some things going into Wimbledon

"But I need to play my best tennis throughout the tournament to be able to do that. I'll be switched on for the first match. [I'm] really look forward to the next five or six days to get ready for it, because for me, it's one of the most important tournaments of the year, if not the most."

Murray has been a runner-up in three Grand Slam finals, most recently at this year’s Australian Open in January, when he lost out to Novak Djokovic. The 24 year old has put together a 22-8 mark on the season, also reaching the semi-finals on clay at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal), and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Monte-Carlo (l. to Nadal) and Rome (l. to Djokovic).

Having delivered a masterclass to dismiss four-time champion Andy Roddick in the semi-finals on Saturday, Murray was given a much sterner test by Tsonga, who ousted World No. 1 Nadal in the quarter-finals.

The Frenchman saved a break point in the third game, and made Murray rue his missed opportunity by attacking the Scot in the sixth game to break through and lead 4-2. Murray had two chances to break back in the ninth game as Tsonga served for the set, but he was out-muscled by the Frenchman who clinched the opener.

Tsonga continued to frustrate Murray in the second set by producing his best tennis on the break points. The fifth seed denied Murray four break point chances in the eighth game, and nearly caught Murray out in the 11th game, only just failing to convert break point as a teetering net cord dropped back on his own side. In the ensuing tie-break, Tsonga paid the price for a drop in his first serve percentage and Murray took full advantage, levelling the match with a 7-2 score line.

"I think I did a good job today of staying calm," said Murray. "I had a lot of chances on his serve. I could have returned his second serve a little bit better. [I] played a really good tie-break. I think I played better than him in the third set. But [the] first two sets, he was playing very well."

After squandering two break points in the third game of the deciding set, Murray finally made his breakthrough on Tsonga’s serve in the fifth game, taking his 10th break point as he forced Tsonga into a forehand error. Having been impenetrable on serve since the first set, Murray held on to close out victory.

The 26-year-old Tsonga was looking to become the first French player to lift the winner’s trophy at the Queen’s Club in the tournament’s illustrious history (since 1890). He is the fourth Frenchman to lose out in the final in the Open Era.

The 2008 Australian Open runner-up was also looking to end a title drought lasting nearly two years; his last trophy came at Tokyo (d. Youzhny) in October 2009.

"I'm disappointed to lose a final. It's difficult when you get this far and miss the last step," said Tsonga. "But I feel good with my game. He played well. I was aggressive but he was really strong today. He can read the serve really well, which makes it very difficult.

"For me anyway it was a good week. I haven't played at such a high level for a long time, so I'm excited about playing Wimbledon because I'm playing well now."

It was the third Monday final at The Queen's Club in the Open Era - also 1979 and 1987. Fans queued from 2 a.m. on Monday morning to get hold of the 1,000 tickets available on the gate.

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© Hiroshi Sato

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