After all of his injury troubles, it could be said that Andy Murray deserves a bit of luck.
Pairing with Feliciano Lopez at the Fever-Tree Championships, the Brit hit two consecutive netcord winners to clinch the opening set and rode the momentum to defeat top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 7-6(5), 6-3. Murray was competing in his first match since undergoing hip surgery after the Australian Open.
“I expected to enjoy the match because I told myself I was going to regardless of what happened,” said Murray. “To feel as well as I did there — not perfect in terms of everything like my movement, but pain-free…I enjoyed it. I feel like I’m going to continue to progress.”
The victory gave Murray his first ATP Tour grass-court doubles win since reaching the quarter-finals here in 2010. Next up for Lopez/Murray are the British pair of Daniel Evans and Ken Skupski or the #NextGenATP duo of Alex de Minaur and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
An all-Murray match is also still in the cards. Should Murray/Lopez and the British pair of Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski win their next matches on Friday, the brothers will face off in the semi-finals.
Murray also confirmed he will team up with Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Wimbledon. The Frenchman has focused on singles since completing the career doubles Grand Slam with Nicolas Mahut this year in Melbourne, but the opportunity to team up with the former World No. 1 was too good to pass up.
“He had said to my coach that he wasn’t going to be playing doubles at Wimbledon,” said Murray. “A couple of weeks ago, [he] got in touch, said maybe [he] would like to play. I’m asssuming he spoke with his team and thought it might be a nice thing to do.”
There were no break points in the opening set of Murray’s comeback match on Thursday. An incredible behind-the-back lob from Cabal helped bring the Colombian duo to 5/5 in the first-set tie-break, but Murray’s volley and forehand netcord winners in the next two points wrapped up the opening set.
The Brit grew in confidence as the match progressed. He ripped a pair of forehand return winners to secure the first break of the match at 3-2 in the second set. The slight advantage was all Lopez/Murray needed. Aggressive volleying from Lopez as he served for the match at 5-3 helped seal the win in 75 minutes.
The other seeded teams in action on Thursday had better fortune. Second seeds Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares rallied to defeat Lucas Pouille and Stan Wawrinka 5-7, 6-3, 10-5. They’ll play Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury for a place in the last four.
Third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers hung tough to defeat Robert Lindstedt and Artem Sitak 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-3. Next up for them are Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, who delighted the home crowd by moving past French pair Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6(5), 1-6, 10-7.