London | Murray edges win and is joined by Draper and Harris

Five-time Queen’s champion, Andy Murray, making his 16th appearance at the exclusive London venue in what was his 1,000th match on the ATP Tour, made a winning start to his grass court campaign in what is expected to be his swan-song as a professional player.

“I’ve not got too many wins this year. It’s been a difficult season, and I did well to come through in the end. Andy Murray

Murray, 37, outlasted the 48th ranked Australian 6-3 3-6 6-3 after recovering from what looked like some physical distress around his metal hip when serving during the second set, breaking early in the decider and then holding on grimly to take the first-round match with a clinical backhand after one-hour and 51-minues.

“I’ve not got too many wins this year“ Murray said later. “It’s been a difficult season, and I did well to come through in the end.

“Any win you can get is important, that’s why we play. With Wimbledon a few weeks away, I want to get some matches in my legs and some confidence. It’s great to get another win here.”

The three-time Grand Slam champion now faces another Aussie, the big hitting Jordan Thompson who caused a major upset by eliminating last year’s runner-up, Holger Rune, the 7th seed from Denmark, in the opening round.

The Scot, who has plummeted to 129th in the rankings, continued: “I’ve felt better, but it was enough today.

“My mum told me it was my 1,000th match and that’s a lot of matches, a lot of wear and tear on the body and it’s not easy, but I managed to push through it.”


Dan Evans in action before his fall

(Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images for LTA)

Murray, who has been confirmed to play in the Paris Olympics shortly after Wimbledon, may well have to find another doubles partner following a bad knee injury suffered by Dan Evans on Court 1.

The 34-year-old from Birmingham, was forced to retire from his opening round match after he slipped behind the base line when playing America’s Brandon Nakashima at the end of the second set with the match level at 4-6 6-3.

He received treatment but was unable to continue conceding the match to his opponent leaving himself more than concerned as to whether he will be able to make Wimbledon or even the Paris Games.

“I’m heartbroken at the minute,” he confessed.

“It’s probably the worst thing you can do on the grass. [Your leg goes one way and] Your body goes one way. We have all seen that sort of motion before.

“You wince if you’re watching, and you hope it’s not too bad if it’s happening to you.

“I heard a crack in my groin, but that seemed to be okay. I think it’s MCL [the medial collateral ligament].

“I’ve got to wait 48 hours, let it settle, and then get a scan. Yeah, I’m worried. I’m in limbo a bit.”

It’s been a more than frustrating season for Evans who has now lost his last seven matches on the Tour.

He is not the first player to slip at Queen’s this year as Francis Tiafoe also had to retire following a heavy fall.

Rune has complained about the surface as he struggled with his footing on the opening day, but Evans refused to blame the courts.

“If I miss the Olympics or Wimbledon, it would be a tough one to swallow, no doubt,” was his final comment.


Billy Harris on his way to the best win of his career

(Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images for LTA)

There was better news on the home front with Billy Harris, Britain’s No.7, world ranked 162 and playing thanks to a wildcard, scored the best win of his career when he beat Argentina’s 32 ranked Tomas Martin Etcheverry, 6-4 3-6 6-3 to move into the last 16, as did Jack Draper, following his success in Stuttgart who trounced another Argentine Mariano Navone, 6-3 6-2 to bring the day’s play to a conclusion.


Jack Draper stormed through his opening match

(Photo by Tony O'Brien/Getty Images)

The new British No.1 now faces the defending champion Carlos Alcaraz who had a temporary blip in the second but recovered strongly to eventually sweep past a third Argentine, Francisco Cerundolo 6-1 7-5.

Having dominated the opening set, the top seed found himself trailing 2-5 in the second when he put up an impressive run, saving three set points at 4-5 before claiming the set and match for his 13h consecutive win on grass which includes winning at Wimbledon last year.

“The first match in any tournament is never easy but even more difficult here on grass, starting the grass season,” the 21-year-old Alcaraz said.

“It is good to have tough situations, having to deal with nerves.

“Starting the grass season, you want to do a good result, so you have to deal with those expectations that you put on yourself.

“But I’m really happy with the match I played. Of course, a really good test, playing against Franscico.

“[It was] close in the second set. It was good to have those situations, to have to deal with the nerves, serving or returning to stay alive in the second set.

“I’m really happy with everything I’ve done and hopefully kick on.”

Earlier, Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti upset Australian second seed Alex de Minaur who won the Rosmalen event last weekend, 1-6 6-4 6-2.

There were also wins for former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Taylor Fritz, the American 4th seed, and his fellow countrymen Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korda.

However, the sixth-seeded American Ben Shelton was ousted by French qualifier Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard while Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi eliminated eighth seed, Frenchman Ugo Humbert.


Carlos Alcaraz shows off his skills

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

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