cinch Championships 2021: Winning starts for Murray and Evans on day two
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Andy Murray was victorious in his first singles outing since March as the five-time cinch Championships winner defeated Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-2 at The Queen's Club.
The three-time Grand Slam champion was playing his first grass court singles match since 2018 and made light work of Frenchman Paire with a resounding straight sets triumph.
Murray, who contemplated retirement in 2018 before undergoing hip resurfacing surgery, was side-lined for much of the 2019 and 2020 seasons during his recovery.
The former World No.1 stepped away from tennis again three months ago, shortly before the British star and his wife, Kim, welcomed their fourth child.
The 34-year-old was in complete control today, though, on a court he knows well and didn’t face a break point in two sets against Paire.
Murray fired 20 winners and 13 unforced errors, and kept his opponent contained to 15 and six respectively in a match lasting just 64 minutes.
Murray will next face top seed Matteo Berrettini in the second round, after the Italian powered past his fellow countryman Stefano Travaglia 7-6(5), 7-6(4) earlier in the day.
"The body's old,” said Murray. “But I did quite well today in terms of my movement. It's my first match on grass in three years and I've only played three or four practice sets in the build-up to this so I didn't know exactly how I was going to play or feel but I think for a first match it was good.
"Berrettini is obviously a top player, top seed here. He had a really strong French Open and I need to play one level up from today if I want to do well there."
Dan Evans also looked comfortable in his opening match, with the British No.1 overcoming Australia’s Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-4 on Centre Court.
Evans, who currently sits at a career-high ranking of 25 in the world and is seeded sixth this week, took a tight first set courtesy of a late break at 5-4.
An early break in the second put the 31-year-old firmly in control and he wrapped up a straight sets win in an hour and 25 minutes.
"It was great to be back,” Evans said. “There was a great atmosphere and it was good to be back in front of a very nice crowd.”
Evans, who beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic earlier this year, added: "That gave me a lot of confidence but you've still got to come out and win the matches.
"I was a bit nervous, to be honest, but I'm happy to come through and hopefully win a few more this week."
With Evans and Murray victorious today it marks the first time four British players have won a match at The Queen’s Club since 2005, the year Murray made his tournament debut and claimed his first ATP Tour match win.
Back then Murray was joined by Tim Henman, Jamie Delgado and Greg Rusedski. This year, he is joined by Evans, Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper.