cinch Championships 2023: DAY TWO!
Day Two, and it was the weather that posed the biggest threat on court. Luckily, after a heavy morning downpour passed, play got underway with Holger Rune and Maxime Cressy on Centre Court, and Adrian Mannarino and British wild card Liam Broady on Court One.
Smooth sailing for Broady it seemed as he took the first set against the Frenchman 6-1. Not quite the same story on Centre though, which went to a tie break, with second seed Rune clinching it by the finest of margins, 7-6 (7-4). Aged just 20 and seeded second, the Danish star was getting his Queen’s debut off to a fantastic start. The American wasn’t going to make it easier for Rune, however, and the second set went to a tie break as well. A really close match, and a thrilling watch for the crowd, but it was Rune who advances into the second round after winning the second set tie break 7-6 (7-3). Meanwhile, the tables had turned for Broady on Court One after Mannarino levelled the game by winning the second set 6-4. The Frenchman continued his form into the final set, dispatching Broady with a 6-3 win.
Up next on Centre saw top seed Carlos Alcaraz take on Arthur Rinderknech. The Frenchman replaced Arthur Fils who had to withdraw last minute. Alcaraz’s lack of grass court experience showed in the first set as Rinderknech took it 6-4. However, the Spaniard had been practicing on Queen’s grass all weekend to get his game in shape – could he pull it back level? With the crowd behind him, Alcaraz displayed some really impressive tennis and maintained an early lead in the second set to take it 7-5. One a piece, all to play for and both men looking fierce and hungry. It was neck and neck going into the final set, and the level of tennis from both players was outstanding. Into a tie break we went and Alcaraz tipped the score in his favour taking the third and final set 7-6 (7-3). Certainly the most dramatic match on Centre so far this year, what a treat for the audience and what a debut Alcaraz made.
Action on Court One continued with on-form Frances Tiafoe taking on Botic van de Zandschulp who impressed the crowd at Queen’s last year. A couple of quick breaks saw Tiafoe run away with the first set 6-2. The fourth seed continued his form into the second set to knock van de Zandschulp out of this year’s draw, 6-4. Keep your eyes on Tiafoe this year, he’s on form!
Andy Murray was welcomed back Queen’s Centre Court with a thunderous roar, alongside his opponent, Alex de Minaur who made his debut at Queen’s last year. Murray the firm favourite, but could the Aussie upset this year’s tournament early? De Minaur looking hungry, he brought his A-game to Murray who, after winning in Nottingham just two days ago, was looking a little beat. Opening set went to the Aussie, 6-3, with Murray needing a real lift from somewhere. Home crowd behind him, into the second set we went. Alex de Minaur could smell blood by this point and absolutely rattled through his own games, and Murray’s, sealing the second set 6-1 and knocking the King of Queen’s out in just under an hour and a half.
Day two done at the cinch Champs. Not to be for Andy Murray this year at Queen’s but as one of his favourite grass court venues, we look forward to seeing him again here soon. See you again tomorrow!