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Murray beats Lu but Nadal exits at the Aegon Championships

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Andy Murray made a wining start in the Aegon Championships as he beat Lu 6-4 7-5. The Brit was not as his best and was a break down in each set, but the former Queens champion did enough to secure his place in the next round.

Lu gave an impressive performance for the majority of the first set which was highlighted by an incredible forehand winner on the run to earn the first break of the match. However, the Brit swiftly responded to break back in the following game and eventually broke Lu again to seal a tight first set 6-4.

The second set followed a similar pattern to the first with Lu breaking Murray early again, but the Brit fought back to recover the deficit. Murray looked determined to finish the contest in straight sets and improved as the match wore on, but Lu was still fighting to keep the scoreline level. However, his resistance was finally broken at 6-5 when a delightful lob from Murray completed a hard-fought win, and the Brit will play Fernando Verdasco next.

However, Rafael Nadal suffered a setback to his promising grass court season as he went down to Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 6-7 6-4 in a high-quality match. Nadal had come into the tournament on a winning run after his triumph in Stuttgart, but it was Dolgopolov who made the fast start and was close to securing a double break in the first set. However, despite the Spanaird holding serve after being broken in his first service game, Dolgopolov deservedly clinched the opening set 6-3.

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The second set was much tighter as Nadal regularly raced through his service games, serving accurately to keep the Ukrainian at bay. But, the Spaniard failed to create any opportunities on Dolgopolov’s serve and a tie-break was needed to decide the second set. Dolgopolov recovered a mini deficit to build a 5-3 lead and even held a match point at 6-5. Nadal bravely saved it with excellent net play, and finally emerged victorious as the Ukranian hit a backhand wide to take the contest to a decider.

Dolgopolov seemed deflated by his inabaility to finish the match off in the tiebreak, and Nadal looked set to punish the Ukranian even more as his forehand passing shot just landed wide to hand the Spaniard his first break of the match. The third set was slipping away from Dolgoplov, but at 4-2, he somehow recovered the break after producing a delightful volley winner. Even though the Spaniard created break points at 4-4, he was very tight and indecisive especially on the forehand side, and allowed his opponent to just edge ahead 5-4.

The Stuttgart champion was unsettled by the remarkable turnaround by his opponent, and Dolgoplov fashioned another match point with a quick backhand return winner. This time, the entertaining Ukrainian finally capitalised, and an apprehensive forehand approach by Nadal was ruthlessly dispatched down the line to send the former Queens Club champion out of the tournament after returning from a 5 year absence from the event. Dolgopolov will now play another Spaniard, Guillermo Garcia Lopez in the next round.

Aegon Championships Rafael Nadal

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