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Andy Murray falls to defeat against Nick Kyrgios in first competitive tennis match in 342 days

Tennis - ATP 500 - Fever-Tree Championships - The Queen's Club, London, Britain - June 19, 2018 Great Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his first round match against Australia's Nick Kyrgios Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Tennis - ATP 500 - Fever-Tree Championships - The Queen's Club, London, Britain - June 19, 2018 Great Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his first round match against Australia's Nick Kyrgios Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Andy Murray may have surpassed his own expectations as he made a return to competitive tennis after almost a year on the sidelines in the Fever Tree Championships at London's Queen's Club.

The Scot, who last played 342 days ago in Wimbledon 2017, showed all of his usual fight and took the first set before the Australian battled back to win 2-6 7-6 (7/4) 7-5 at Queen's Club.

Despite the loss, Murray will take great encouragement from his long-awaited return; he still had a visible limp and sometimes looked to struggle with side-to-side movement, but had chances to win and has lost none of his renowned competitive spirit.

It allowed Kyrgios, who also looked to be struggling with injury, a first win over his good friend at the sixth attempt in two hours and 39 minutes.

After two aborted comebacks and eventual surgery on his troublesome hip injury, all eyes were on how Murray would fair in a competitive environment and he soon showed his mettle by saving a break point in the opening game.

He had two more to save in the fourth game and that proved a pivotal moment as Kyrgios went rogue after that.

Known for his ability to check out of matches, the Australian served an incredible four double faults in the next game, including twice trying to send down second serves in excess of 135mph.

Murray, against an opponent he probably knows he has the better of mentally, cashed in to reel off four successive games and clinch the first set 6-2.

Following the high of winning that first set came a sudden low as after losing his first two service games the Briton found himself 3-1 down.

While there are still doubts about fitness, his desire can never be questioned and he battled back in typical Murray fashion, forcing Kyrgios to serve to stay in the match.

The Australian did so, and then played the better tiebreak to force a deciding set.

It then became a battle of the walking wounded as Murray was feeling his back while Kyrgios was struggling with an apparent left hip problem.

Murray had to save break points to level up at 3-3 and then fended off two match points at 4-5 as his incredible resilience shone through.

Kyrgios would not go away, though, and sealed victory with a third match point, which came, frustratingly for Murray from a double fault.

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