Andy Murray survives slow start to win Aegon Championships

Andy Murray lifts the trophy

Andy Murray lifts the trophy

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Andy Murray won a record fifth title at Queen’s as the Scot battled back from a set and a break down to beat Canada’s Milos Raonic.

Murray looked destined for defeat when Raonic took the first set and then led 3-0 in the second, but the British number one pulled off another superb fightback to win 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 6-3.

It means Murray’s success at the Aegon Championships is now unparalleled, moving top of the list of champions and above four-time winners like Roy Emerson, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, and John McEnroe.

McEnroe was watching on courtside in his capacity as Raonic’s new coach but it was Murray’s mentor Ivan Lendl who got one over his old rival and maintained the perfect start to his second spell with the world number two.

Lendl and McEnroe met 33 times in their careers, once at Queen’s when Lendl won 6-2 6-4 in 1990, but Murray was keen to stress the only contest relevant here was inside the white lines.

Intent perhaps to avoid the spotlight as well, Lendl dashed off at the end, choosing not to stay as his pupil was handed the trophy.

“It was nice of him to stick around for the presentation, I don’t know where he’s off to,” Murray joked afterwards.

“It was obviously a good first week back together. It means a lot to win here.”

Both players have certainly appeared boosted by their new charges this week and they will head to Wimbledon in eight days’ time as two of the most dangerous contenders in the draw.

Raonic’s serve, producing 14 aces in the match, remains his most potent strength but he has been visibly more eager to follow it up with volleys this week, and often to great effect.

Murray, meanwhile, has never struggled for resilience but this was a turnaround to rival some of the best in his career, sparked by two quick-fire breaks against the world number nine, who had previously not lost serve all tournament.

“Coming out here to win for the fifth time, I was really motivated,” Murray said.

“This tournament has loads of history, it’s a great event with unbelievable crowds, the playing field every year is extremely strong.

“It’s a pleasure as well to play in front of someone like John (McEnroe).

“Usually he’s up in the commentary booth telling us what we should be doing better so to do something a little bit better here than someone like him is amazing.”

The tone was set in the very first point as Raonic bounded forward, Murray punched back a pass and the Canadian’s volley dropped into the net.

It was a game of attack and counter-attack but neither could dent the other’s serve early on, with not a single break point emerging in the opening set.

It would be settled in a tie-break, where three deft volleys gave Raonic a 3-0 lead and while Murray hussled back to 5-5, another booming serve and a deep return put the Canadian one set up.

As the fist-pumping McEnroe leapt to his feet, Murray dealt his racket several bashings into the ground at the change of ends.

Raonic’s momentum then seemed unstoppable as first Murray received a time violation for stalling on his serve, then Raonic’s challenge was shown to have nicked the line, before finally he broke the Scot to lead 3-0.

The advantage was all the more serious given Raonic had won all his previous 55 service games but Murray suddenly found a different gear.

A brilliant backhand return sealed one break back before Raonic hit a forehand into the net for a second, and in a blink of an eye Murray had taken the set 6-4 to force a decider.

Jogging into the changeover, it was now Murray on the march and when he ended a 24-shot rally with a sumptuous drop-shot to break again at the start of the third, there seemed only one winner.

Raonic kept pace as long as he could but Murray made his final move at 5-3, opening up three match points and converting the third, the contest ending as it began, with the Canadian volleying into the net.