Andy overcomes spirited Raonic to seal title no.5
The Canadian blasted his way to the first-set tiebreak before Murray recovered to win 6-7 6-4 6-3. The last time he won the title here at Queen’s Club in 2013 he went on to win Wimbledon three weeks later.
The victory was also an immediate success for Ivan Lendl, his coach when he won his two Grand Slams, who only returned to his team on Tuesday. It was all the sweeter Raonic is now coached by his old enemy John McEnroe.
The two coaches were not the only throwback to the old days. The first set was dominated by huge serving.
Raonic looked set for his first ever grass-court title when he won the first break of serve in the match in the opening game of the second set after Murray had received a time violation before the first break points of the match.
He then held for a 3-0 lead and his serve-and-volley game looked unstoppable. But as ever when the Scot faces a crisis, he finds the answer.
He finally forced a break point against the huge Raonic serve and took it with a superb backhand cross-court return winner as the Canadian charged into the net.
This time it was the turn of Murray’s entourage to leap to their feet as the Scot roared with a combination of relief and delight. It was only the eighth break point Raonic had faced in this tournament – and the first one taken.
But after holding his serve for a remarkable 55 consecutive games on the verdant Queen’s Club grass, the Scot then broke him in consecutive games. This time a retreating Raonic slapped a forehand into the net to lose four games in a row as the Scot drew the match level.
With the momentum now going the way of the world No 2, he broke again in the first game of the third set when he ended a 24-shot rally with a delicate drop shot.
Raonic saved three match points on his serve before Raonic put a volley into the net to end the entertaining contest.
Murray, who celebrated his first Father’s Day with a title, has overtaken the shared record of four titles here he held with seven other players, including McEnroe.
The Scot: “Obviously this tournament has loads of history. It is a great event with unbelievable crowds from the beginning. The player field is extremely strong. It is a pleasure to play in front of someone like John.
“Normally he is in the commmentary box telling us what we should be doing. He was a great player. Any time you can do something better than him is great though I am not comparing myself to him. He was a much better player.”
Lendl had already left the player’s box by the time Murray made his victory speech. The British No 1 joked: “It is nice of him to stick around for the presentation! Obviously a good first week back together. Thanks to all of my team. It means a lot to win here.”
Raonic said: “Congratulations to Andy. It is my first time playing on a Sunday on grass. Hopefully we can have a re-match in a couple of Sundays time.”