Queen’s Club, London – After some grey skies and rain early, Andy Murray hit the practice court, twice, at the Fever-Tree Championships.
This is big news in this part of the world.
As well, the final round of qualifying was wrapped up. And the four survivors are Nicolas Mahut, Alexander Bublik, Aljaz Bedene (the former Brit, now back in Slovenia) and … James Ward.
Ward, in particular, was impressive as he defeated No. 4 seed Ivo Karlovic in straight sets.
At No. 83, the 40-year-old Karlovic was the highest-ranked player Ward has beaten since he reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2015. He defeated (then) No. 45 Jiri Vesely in the second round before Vasek Pospisil beat him, 8-6 in the fifth set, in the next round.
The 32-year-old had knee surgery in Aug. 2017. But, of course, the knee had hampered him long before that. And ever since then, it’s been a race against the clock to get back his form and ranking back.
He missed six months, and when he returned in early 2018, his ranking was down to No. 845.
Ward now has it back near the top 200, and will play Gilles Simon in the first round of the main draw.
Mahut into the main
At 37, Mahut is ranked No. 191 in singles after an inspiring run to the third round at Roland Garros. He had been outside the top 250. But the Queen’s Club tournament, in recognition of his final in 2007, gave him a wild card into the qualifying,
The Frenchman had a tough one in the first round, against No. 1 seed Nicolas Jarry. But Mahut pulled that one out – 8-6 in the third set tiebreak. On Sunday, he defeated young Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 6-3 in the third set.
Mahut gets Frances Tiafoe, unseeded here, in the first round.
On the practice courts
Murray’s first hit of the day was with lefty Horacio Zeballos of Argentina.
Fernando Verdasco practiced with Marton Fucsovics. And the combined muscle power of those two had a couple of ladies from Yorkshire … rather enthralled.
Daniil Medvedev hit with Stan Wawrinka.
Canadian Peter Polansky, eliminated in the first round of qualifying by Karlovic, was out practicing with Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.
Here are a few clips from the day.