And for his next trick... could Murray's magic win Wimbledon?

Scot starts showboating in dramatic win over Tsonga that earns second Queen's title

Queen's Club

It was a moment that demonstrated Andy Murray's joy at what had been a perfect week. Serving at 4-3 and 40-0 in the deciding set of the Aegon Championships final here yesterday, the 24-year-old Scot eschewed the opportunity to win the game with a routine volley and instead flicked an inch-perfect, through-the-legs half-volley that landed beyond the reach of an aghast Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Murray, who went on to win a hugely entertaining match 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 to take the title for a second time, is not usually the sort to showboat but could not resist the chance to revel in his talent. Having totally outplayed Andy Roddick in Saturday's semi-finals, the world No 4 was given a much sterner test by the Frenchman but held firm and went on to play some sparkling tennis to claim the 17th title of his career.

This was Murray's first tournament victory since the Shanghai Masters eight months ago. The dark days of February and March, when he failed to win a set in four successive matches following his run to the final of the Australian Open, appear well and truly behind him. Having just enjoyed the best clay-court season of his career, culminating in his first appearance in the semi-finals of the French Open, the Scot has quickly found his form on grass and will go to Wimbledon, which begins in six days' time, full of confidence.

Even the fickle June sunshine came out to celebrate Murray's achievement. The final had been held over for 24 hours after rain had washed out Sunday's play and, although the match began under an overcast sky, it finished in glorious sunshine.

The stadium was full, fans having begun queuing at 2am to take advantage of the offer of £10 tickets to watch the country's best player for three-quarters of a century in his final warm-up before Wimbledon. After becoming the first Briton to win here for 71 years when he claimed the title two years ago, Murray is now the first of his countrymen to win this title more than once since Sir Francis Gordon Lowe, a second baronet and the son of an MP, triumphed in 1913, 1914 and 1925.

"When you look at the names of the people on the trophy, it's not an easy tournament to win," Murray said. "This is probably the strongest tournament on the tour for one of this size, so it means a lot. It's always been great preparation for guys going into Wimbledon. If you do well here, it shows you're playing good tennis on the grass."

He added: "I'm going to Wimbledon with the feeling that I'm going to win the tournament. I don't think you can go in with any other attitude. I feel like I'm playing good tennis."

Tsonga, who had beaten Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, was a worthy opponent. The 26-year-old Frenchman's big serve, sound volleys, aggressive style and great athleticism make him a fine player on grass. The world No 19 took the game to Murray, attacking his second serve, charging into the net and diving to hit volleys when his opponent tried to pass him.

For a set and a half it seemed that the Muhammad Ali lookalike from Le Mans might be strong enough to deliver knockout blows. He made the first break in the sixth game, surprising Murray by upping the pace of his returns, and saved two break points when serving at 5-3 before taking the set.

When he served at 3-4 in the second set Tsonga saved four more break points, one of them with a mishit, after which he kissed his racket in relief. It seemed this was not going to be Murray's day, but the Scot's luck turned when he served at 5-5 and 30-40. Tsonga hit a big forehand return and the ball hit the top of the net, jumped into the air and landed just on his side. Murray puffed out his cheeks in relief and went on to hold serve.

A sign of the Scot's increasing confidence came in the next game. Having overrun the ball, from behind the baseline he hit a through-the-legs forehand –a foretaste of what was to come – which looked certain to take the point until Tsonga dived to hit a volley winner. The momentum was with Murray, however, and he took the tie-break 7-2 to level.

Tsonga held on until the fifth game of the decider, when Murray broke with a big cross-court forehand. The Frenchman could see the end was nigh when the Scot played his remarkable trick shot three games later. "You don't get a chance to do that very often," Murray said. "It just came off. I was up 40-0 in the game. I probably wouldn't have gone for it if it was 30-30."

Tsonga said later: "At first I was pissed off. Then I said: 'Good play'." When informed about Tsonga's reaction, Murray responded: "I was the one that was more frustrated than him in the first two sets because he was coming up with some unbelievable shots."

At 5-4 Murray served out for the match, sealing victory with a smash and the broadest of smiles. A week that had begun with concerns about an ankle injury – for which he is still having treatment – had ended in perfect fashion.

Murray said he had been "very close" to pulling out after his first match with his ankle. "I didn't feel that comfortable on the court. The best thing for my ankle would have been to take the week off in terms of getting it better, but you have to look as well at what the best preparation for Wimbledon would be. Everyone thinks at this period of the year it's so stressful, you can't play, you can't enjoy yourself, you can't do anything, but I felt like I expressed myself on the court. I enjoyed it."

* Adam Helfant is stepping down as head of the ATP when his three-year contract expires at the end of the year. The American, president and executive chairman since 2009, said it was time to "consider other opportunities".

A good omen?

Andy Murray is the eighth man to win two or more singles titles at Queen's Club in the Open era. The other seven were all world No 1s and all bar Roddick and Lendl won Wimbledon.



Four Queen's Club titles
Boris Becker (1985, 1987, 1988, 1996)
Lleyton Hewitt (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006)
Andy Roddick (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007)
John McEnroe (1979, 1980, 1981, 1984)

Three titles
Jimmy Connors (1972, 1982, 1983)

Two titles
Ivan Lendl (1989, 1990)
Pete Sampras (1995, 1999)
Andy Murray (2009, 2011)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee