LONDON (AFP) – Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas avoided a slip-up as a series of big names exited at Queen’s on Thursday (June 20) by breezing past British number one Kyle Edmund 6-3, 7-5 in their rain-delayed first round match.
However, for once the doubles will take centre stage over the singles later in west London as former world number one Andy Murray makes his return to competitive tennis for the first time since undergoing a hip operation in January.
Murray will team up with veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez against the top seeds and French Open semi-finalists Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
Tsitsipas was grateful to polish off Edmund in straight sets after resuming at 3-3 in the second set after rain on Wednesday forced the match into a second day.
The 20-year-old Greek will be back on court later on Thursday to face Frenchman Jeremy Chardy as organisers try to catch up with lost time early in the week.
The world number six also saw his chances of winning a first title on grass helped as defending champion Marin Cilic and last year’s Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson crashed out in the second round.
They were followed by three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka as 37-year-old French qualifier Nicolas Mahut came from a set down and a break down in the deciding set to win 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) in their second-round clash.
Anderson, the second seed, looked understandably rusty in his first tournament since March due to injury.
The veteran South African battled back from a set down to Gilles Simon, but the Frenchman prevailed 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Fifth-seeded Cilic – who also won the Queen’s title in 2012 and reached the final on two other occasions – went down 6-4, 6-4 to 26-year-old Argentinian Diego Schwartzman, who is appearing at Queen’s for the first time and recorded just his third win on the surface.
Tsitsipas’ path to the final had already been eased by the withdrawal of third seed Juan Martin del Potro, who suffered a fresh knee injury after stumbling towards the end of his victory over Denis Shapovalov on Wednesday.
Del Potro has fractured his right patella for the second time in nine months and will miss Wimbledon.
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