LONDON (AFP): Andy Murray’s latest comeback came to an abrupt end in the second round at Queen’s on Thursday as top seed Matteo Berrettini outclassed the former world number one 6-3, 6-3.
The British three-time Grand Slam champion chased after several Berrettini thunderbolts without showing signs of being troubled by the groin problem that had prevented him playing singles since March.
However, the result showed the size of the task facing Murray, who has won the grasscourt tournament on five occasions, as he prepares for Wimbledon, which starts on June 28.
“I did not play very well,” said the 34-year-old, who added that just being back on court was not a barometer of success for him.
“I’m not sitting in the locker room after a match and going, ‘Oh, you know, that was a shame that, you know, doesn’t really matter, and, you know, I’m just happy being out there’,” he said.
“I’m not happy losing three and three to Berrettini today. Like, I want to be doing better than that, for sure.”
The Italian’s big serve took centre stage in London as he saved all three break points he faced during the match, which lasted an hour and 25 minutes.
The world number nine, 25, broke Murray twice in the first set and broke early in the second for a 3-0 lead. He never looked back, mixing powerful groundstrokes with some deft touches at the net.
Berrettini will face Dan Evans in Friday’s quarter-finals after the British player beat France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 7-6 (9/7).
“This was really hard. We all know who Andy is, he is a great player and he was always there even until the last point,” said Berrettini. “I’m really happy for my performance.
“I know how tough it is to come back from an injury, so I wish him the best of luck. I think he played great today. I played better. I am just happy that he is back.”
Murray said he was unlikely to play in Eastbourne next week, preferring to work on the practice courts.
“You just need to be on the court with the top players, and that’s what I’ll try and do the next week, 10 days, get out there and play with them as much as possible,” he said.
“But then, you know, with the mindset or the thought that I need to manage the groin a little bit, as well. It’s a bit tricky.”
Also on Thursday, Canadian second seed Denis Shapovalov beat defending champion Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-3.