Andy Murray is well on his way to becoming a five-time Queens Club champion, after he beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in Saturday’s semi-final. The defending champion will now meet Milos Raonic in the final, after the Canadian emphatically dismissed Bernard Tomic in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
Here is a look at the results and how things panned out on semi-final day at this prestigious tournament.
|Queens Club: Saturday Results|
|(1) Andy Murray bt. (5) Marin Cilic||6-3, 4-6, 6-3|
|(3) Milos Raonic vs. Bernard Tomic||6-4,6-4|
Murray was aggressive from the off against his big-serving opponent, giving Cilic no time to get into a rhythm with ball in hand. The home-crowd favourite grabbed a break in the third game and seemed to mean business in the early exchanges.
In the fourth he had to save four break points from the Croatian, although he did eventually consolidate his advantage. Despite his strong early play, coach Ivan Lendl wasn’t getting too worked up, per BBC Tennis:
BBC Tennis @bbctennis
First blood Andy Murray He breaks Cilic and leads 2-1. Little emotion from coach Lendl https://t.co/YzeIsYl2gC https://t.co/BfYgEISctT2016-6-18 12:38:32
Both players settled into their serve well for the next four games, but when Murray got a sniff at taking the first set with Cilic serving, he grabbed it.
The Croatian looked a little nervous as he sought to stay involved in the stanza, while Murray was outstanding in capitalising on his frailties. The home-crowd favourite was getting serves back into play and, on set point, produced some resolute defence before a stunning passing winner.
The British Tennis Twitter feed was impressed with the reigning champion's performance to this point:
British Tennis @BritishTennis
What a shot! @andy_murray seals the first set 6-3 with a stunning cross-court forehand! #AegonChampionships https://t.co/CSSV44C8pa2016-6-18 13:02:12
Cilic seemed a little more focused at the start of the second set and began to trouble Murray on his serve. The Scot was starting to get a little frustrated, using up all of his challenges early on and then looking dismayed when a controversial line call went against him.
The Croatian, meanwhile, was moving through the gears, and with Murray looking preoccupied in the seventh game, he struck to break his opponent's serve for the first time in the match.
In the next game Murray had three break-point chances, although they all slipped through his fingers, prompting more howls of anguish from the Brit. From there, Cilic went on to clinch the set by a 6-4 scoreline.
Here are the numbers behind a much-improved stanza from the former U.S. Open champion, per Tennis TV:
Tennis TV @TennisTV
.@cilic_marin cuts a much sharper figure in 2nd @TheQueensClub #AegonChampionships #murray https://t.co/kRsZ9udpkC https://t.co/rqFVteaXRx2016-6-18 13:50:57
Cilic levelling the match merely prompted Murray into raising his game, though, and he came out firing in the decider. The Scot notched an early break—one that seemed to fill him with confidence.
From there he was dictating the majority of points again and gave his opponent little in what was a high- pressure environment.
Although Cilic did do his utmost to cling on in the match, saving two match points on his own serve, Murray eventually had too much, seeing the match out with a trio of aces.
While this tournament doesn’t command the same kind of prestige as the Grand Slams, for Murray getting a fifth title in the trophy cabinet will be a big incentive for the Scot. Men like John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Lleyton Hewitt have won a quartet of titles here; edging in front of those names would be a big boost with Wimbledon looming.
That's assuming he can see off Raonic who used a powerful service game to thwart Tomic. The Canadian boomed a dozen aces among some impressive overall statistics, according to TennisTV:
Tennis TV @TennisTV
.@milosraonic cruises, sets up an #AegonChampionships final with @andy_murray @TheQueensClub https://t.co/kRsZ9udpkC https://t.co/iJ7JwbC84x2016-6-18 15:50:29
As ATP Media Info detailed, no player has been able to cope with the Raonic serve:
ATP Media Info @ATPMediaInfo
World No. 9 @MilosRaonic reaches 18th @ATPWorldTour final and 1st not on a hard court at #AegonChampionships. Unbroken in 47 service games.2016-6-18 15:48:37
The third seed has now set up an intriguing clash of styles in the final. Something will have to give when Raonic's awesome serving power meets Murray's versatile range and ability to manufacture shots in the return game.