Andy Murray had to fight back from a set and a break down against Milos Raonic, but eventually claimed a record-breaking fifth Aegon Championships title with a three-set victory. The top seed survived a barrage from the big-hitting Canadian, who was contesting his first grass court final, holding his ground to claim a 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 victory. With the win, Murray broke the record for most titles in Queen’s Club history.
Raonic Takes Opener in Tiebreak
Just when it seemed like Murray was off to a brilliant start, the Scot blew a 40-0 lead in the opening game before his serve came to the rescue at deuce. The Canadian responded with a hold to love of his own. Things would proceed comfortably on serve with no real threats until Raonic served at 3-4 and Murray fought to 30-30, the closest game on the Raonic serve yet. In the following game, the Canadian held a 15-30 lead on his opponent’s serve, but could not take advantage.
The set would continue with the servers coming out on top without facing any break points and the set required a tiebreak. A great net attack gave Raonic a minibreak on the opening point of the breaker. More great play at the net gave the Canadian a 3-0 lead. The breaker would follow serve until Raonic served for the set at 5-4 and sliced a backhand into the net to level at 5-5. A big serve and volley gave Raonic a set point on the Murray serve and the Canadian pinned the top seed at the net, eventually ripping a forehand winner to seal the opening set.
Murray Roars Back to Force Decider
The Canadian came out swinging to start the second set, using his big groundstrokes and net skill to hold to love and then bring up a pair of break points in Murray’s first service game of the set. A brilliant cross-court return from Raonic forced an error to give him an immediate break lead at 2-0 in the second. In the fifth game, Murray correctly challenged a volley from the third seed that would have closed out the game. The top seed quickly brought up a break point which he converted with a perfect cross-court return winner. It was the first break against Raonic serve all week.
Raonic seemed to be struggling on serve after the break and fell behind 15-40 in his next service game. He saved the first with a gigantic serve but would miss a forehand on the second to give the break lead to his opponent at 4-3. The remainder of the set would go with serve and Murray served the set out to take it 6-4, sending the match to a decider.
Murray Rolls to Historic Victory
Raonic was in trouble again at the start of the final set, spraying a forehand wide to give Murray a break point in the opening game. A titanic rally ensued, with Murray converting the break with a well-timed drop shot that Raonic could not reach. Once Murray had the break, the set seemed all but decided. Both men controlled their own service games, with neither player really seeing any opportunities to break.
Raonic served to stay in the match at 3-5 and Murray made a move, racing ahead 15-40, double match point, but the Canadian saved both with smashes. Another match point arrived at 40-AD and this time, Raonic put a backhand volley into the net.
By the Numbers
In the end, the key for Murray was limiting Raonic’s break point opportunities. The Scot only allowed Raonic one break point in the entire match and while the Canadian converted it, he was never able to get back in the sets after dropping his own serve. 14 aces were not enough for the Canadian, who only won 44 percent of his second serve points. While Murray was only slightly better, only claiming 45 percent of his second serves, the Scot won 83 percent of his first serve points, keeping the Canadian from attacking.
With the win, Murray became the first man to win five titles at the Queen’s Club, breaking a tie with Anthony Wilding, Roy Emerson, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick for most titles in the history of the Queen's Club. Both men will take the week of before competing at Wimbledon.