Andy Murray sealed the Queen's Club title with a topsy turvy 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Marin Cilic. The Scot capped a fine week of Wimbledon preparation to lift the trophy for a third time.
Matches between Murray and Cilic are rarely as straightforward as the 8-1 head to head might suggest. Cilic has a tendency to make a fast start before losing his way - most recently at the US Open where he lead by a set and 5-1 before utterly capitulating.
Like so many matches this week, the final was held up by inclement weather. When the match finally started after a delay of more than three hours, Murray made immediate inroads.
After a straight-forward service hold the Scot broke his opponent, bringing up three break point with some agressive play. Cilic saved the first two but was powerless to do anything about a whipped crosscourt forehand in the third.
Murray faced some pressure in the next service game, saving break points with some huge serving. The Scot held, but errors were starting to creep into his game.Read more (252 words)
Cilic had by now overcome his early nerves and held to get onto the score board. The Croat was the beneficiary of some erratic Murray groundstrokes, and was gifted a break back at 4-1.
Murray had a chance to regain the break in the very next game but slipped and fell awkwardly. The shriek of pain had the crowd fearing the worst, but after a brief delay the world number two dusted himself off and carried on.
Cilic now had the momentum and broke again immediately for 6-5, before serving for the set.
Break opportunities were few and far between in the second set. Murray, serving first, had the benefit of scoreboard pressure and finally broke through at 6-5. A beautiful lob followed by a pinpoint return of serve brought up break point. Cilic duly pumped a routine groundstroke into the net and the scores were level at one set all.
Murray was now demonstrating his full repertoire, dictating play and leaving his opponent groping on the baseline. The decisive break, when it came, was almost a let down. A flurry of unforced errors from Cilic gifted a break point and another sealed the break.
The Murray serve was now impregnable, and despite missing a championship point at 3-5, the US Open champion held firm and served out with ease.
Murray's performances this week, coming from an injury enforced layoff, have been highly impressive. The Scot may not be the clear favourite for Wimbledon, but he's certainly one of four leading contenders.