Lucky Loser Thompson Shocks Murray In London
The 23-year-old lucky loser had never won a tour-level grass-court match before, falling in his previous four matches. He wasn't even in the main draw when Tuesday started, having lost his second qualifying match to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. But Thompson benefitted from Brit Aljaz Bedene's withdrawal and seized the opportunity on centre court.
“I played really well. Served great. Got a lot of free points. Gave myself every opportunity in the rallies and didn't make too many errors. Yeah, it was a good day at the office,” Thompson said.
Asked if it was the biggest win of his career, Thompson said, “Definitely, beating the World No. 1 and Grand Slam champion, and beating him on grass at Queen's, yeah, it's definitely ranked No. 1.”
Thompson stayed calm and cool all match long. The Aussie struck 12 aces and saved all three break points against Murray, who had won 10 consecutive matches at The Queen's Club and 14 consecutive on grass, dating back to his second Wimbledon title last year.
“He moves well and serves well... two important things to do on the grass. A lot of guys struggle a little bit with the movement, but he's quick. If you serve big, you can get free points. It can be tough,” Murray said of Thompson.
Thompson didn't face a break point in the first set and edged the Brit in the tie-break for a one-set lead. In the second set, the Aussie won 16/19 first-serve points. He finished the first-round match with 12 aces.
“He played better than me,” Murray said. “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... That wasn't a great period of the match for me there... I didn't create loads of chances, really. I didn't return particularly well. He served big. He served well.”
It is Murray's first opening-round loss at The Queen's Club since 2006, when he fell in the round of 64 to Serbian Janko Tipsarevic. Murray turned his season around earlier this month by reaching the Roland Garros semi-finals and was eager to begin his run for a sixth Aegon Championships title. No player has won more titles at the tournament in its 127-year history than Murray.
“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... but it certainly would have helped to have had more matches.”
The World No. 1 also misses an opportunity to strengthen his hold on the top spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings, which will be up for grabs at Wimbledon, with World No. 2 Rafael Nadal his most likely challenger.
Fourth seed Marin Cilic survived a day of upsets at The Queen's Club, beating big-serving John Isner of the U.S. 7-5, 6-3 in 61 minutes. Cilic, now the highest remaining seed in London, went 30/30 on first-serve points and won all three break points. He will next meet #NextGenATP American Stefan Kozlov, who beat Steve Johnson 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.