AEGON Championships 2016: Murray beats Mahut to begin title defense

The 29-year-old Scot came through two tie break sets to reach the second round in London.

AEGON Championships 2016: Murray beats Mahut to begin title defense
Murray battled to victory on Tuesday. (Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty)

Andy Murray’s second unveiling of coach Ivan Lendl came on an overcast day at London’s admired Queens Club, as the world number two beat France’s Nicolas Mahut in straight sets.

After constant showers in the English capital, there were even signs that the sun could break out mid-way thought the first set before Murray secured a and his place in the second round of the Aegon Championships.

Murray will certainly hope the sun shines on his second spell with Lendl, with whom he won two Grand Slam titles with when the pair worked together three years ago.

It was certainly a promising start, as Murray dispatched a tricky opponent in two tie break sets - winning 7-6(8) 7-6(1).

Murray will now take on either Aljaz Bedene or Benoit Paire in the second round.

Murray impresses after Wawrinka crashes out

The match didn’t start until after 5:00pm after rain had delayed the earlier match between Stanislas Wawrinka and Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.

It was a match in which the second seeded Swiss suffered a shock exit, however Murray made sure he didn’t go the same way.

Mahut arrived in London yesterday full of confidence after winning a grass court tournament in Hertogenbosch last week.

The 34-year-old Frenchman loves this time of year and all four of his career titles have come on the green surface.

Murray too has enjoyed well-documented success on the grass, after winning Wimbledon three years ago, and the 29-year-old from Dunblane is attempting to become the first man to win the title here on five separate occasions.  

The top seed made an ominous start, dropping just one point in the opening game which included two aces.

Mahut's confidence on grass shows

It was Mahut who drew first blood by breaking the Murray serve to lead 3-2; however the Frenchman then served two double faults when leading 40-15 in the next game - allowing the Brit level the score.

The greasy surface caused Mahut suffer a nasty looking fall a couple of games later, but both managed to rediscover their rhythm on serve and hold with ease to force a tie break.

After nicking his nose ahead early on Murray maintained an early mini-break but dragged a forehand wide on set point to level the score at 6-6.

Both then had a set point each and Murray was left to sweat when Mahut lashed a week second serve from the Brit into the net.

An arcing serve out wide then made it 9-8 and gave the world number two another chance. He duly took it with a dipping return at Mahut’s feet after he had raced into the net.

Murray comes through tricky opener

It was a recurring theme, as you’d expect from a man who is ranked second in the world at doubles - only Andy’s brother Jamie is ahead of Frenchman.

Mahut unsurprisingly found success with his flat serve and assured net skills, which helped him race into 5-2 lead in the second set.

Even so it remained just a single and Murray came roaring back before saving three set points when serving at 5-6.   

After coming through a tough game, Murray then made sure the second breaker of the match was far more one sided than the first and went on to close out the match.

Murray and Mahut embrace at the net. (Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty)
Murray and Mahut embrace at the net. (Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty)