Andy Murray's return slowed by rain as Dan Evans marches on at Queens

Scot faces playing twice today if he finishes off Mahut while young Brit earns Del Potro chance

Queen's Club

As if Andy Murray's preparations for Wimbledon have not been difficult enough, the British weather has also turned against the 26-year-old Scot. Murray spent a frustrating day here dodging the rain showers that have seriously disrupted this week's Aegon Championships and will have to return today to complete his second-round match against Nicolas Mahut. Murray was leading 6-3, 2-2 when play was called off for the night.

Murray was already facing the prospect of playing five matches in five days if he reaches Sunday's final here. If he goes on to beat Mahut he will have to return later in the afternoon to play his third-round match against Australia's Marinko Matosevic.

A frustrating day saw Murray and Mahut forced off the court three times. After the first set, only four games were possible – in two separate periods between the showers – in the ensuing three and a half hours before play was called off at 6.30pm. Murray, playing his first competitive match for a month after suffering a recurrence of a back injury, was clearly concerned about the slippery court. With Wimbledon only 11 days away, the last thing he needs is another injury.

Having lost to Mahut at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago, Murray would have been more than satisfied with his performance in the opening set against an accomplished grass-court opponent. Mahut saved two break points in the opening game before Murray broke to lead 4-3, completing the job with a forehand winner after a well-judged drop shot. Two games later Murray broke again, converting his third set point with a killing lob, before rain forced the players off court.

Earlier in the day, Britain's Dan Evans recorded one of the best victories of his career when he beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. The 23-year-old from Birmingham demonstrated once again how his ranking – he is the world No 277 and has never been higher than No 248 – does not reflect his talent.

Nieminen is the world No 37 and a player of great experience, having played in 13 finals on the main tour, but Evans was too good for him. The 31-year-old Finn, who is the highest-ranked player Evans has beaten, fought back to win the second set tie-break 8-6, but the Briton took the decider after an hour and 48 minutes.

Evans is not short on self-belief. The Briton said he had thought he would beat Argentina's Guido Pella, the world No 75, in the first round. "I prefer to play someone better, where they hit the ball, rather than a guy who's playing Futures," he said. "It's a bit more intense and I don't struggle to keep concentration when I'm playing here."

At 5ft 9in, Evans is nine inches shorter than his next opponent, Juan Martin del Potro, the world No 8. "He's going to have to go down from pretty high to low if I slice that much," Evans said. "He probably won't play as much slice as me. I have my own goals tomorrow. I don't think I need to share them with everybody. I'm pretty happy with the way I'm playing. I will just go out there and do what I have to do."

During a rain delay, Evans talked in the locker room to Murray and the Scot's coach, Ivan Lendl. Evans said he had found it "pretty intimidating" to be in Lendl's presence. "I don't know him," Evans said. "Obviously he was an unbelievable tennis player, so I just keep quiet and don't say anything."

They talked about the forthcoming US Open golf tournament. "He didn't much like my pick of Sergio Garcia to win it," Evans said. "He said [Steve] Stricker was a dark horse and he can't see past Tiger Woods, so I wasn't going to comment on that."

Lleyton Hewitt, four times a winner here, gave Grigor Dimitrov a lesson in grass-court tennis, beating the 22-year-old Bulgarian 6-4, 6-3. Tomas Berdych, the No 2 seed, beat the Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-1, 6-4 in the Czech's first match since his defeat to Gaël Monfils in the first round of the French Open.

Dimitrov later joined forces in the doubles with Freddie Nielsen, who won the Wimbledon doubles title last year with Britain's Jonny Marray. Dimitrov and Nielsen were beaten 7-6, 6-3 by Jamie Murray and Australia's John Peers, who have formed a useful partnership in recent weeks.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
football
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
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.

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering