Erratic Kyrgios beats two-time Wimbledon champ Murray in Queen’s Club opener
Nick Kyrgios continued his excellent grass court form in the build up to Wimbledon — despite a frustratingly indifferent opening set — by beating Britain's Andy Murray in the first round at Queen's Club.
Kyrgios had lost all five of his previous meetings with Murray — and a sixth loss beckoned as he dropped serve three times, each time with a wild double-fault in a shambolic first set.
Once he stopped the tippy-tappy tennis and started crunching 225 kilometres per hour (140mph) serves and thunderous groundstrokes, he began to give Murray a real examination on his first match on return from injury.
The Australian world number 21 — a close friend of Murray's — said it had been a difficult engagement.
"It was a very awkward match for me because I was thinking the guy hadn't played a match in a year, and I was getting smoked in the first set," he said. "I was, like, this is not going to be a good look if I lose this match."
Former world number one Murray was returning from an almost year-long lay-off due to a hip injury and looked to be in good touch after taking the first set.
However, 342 days after his last appearance, the two-time Wimbledon champion began to feel the pace of the two hours and 39 minute match as Kyrgois bossed the tiebreak.
Kyrgios then took the decider after the Scot — who has slipped to 156 in the world during his injury break — double-faulted to win 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.
World number 21 Kyrgios said the troublesome elbow which saw him withdraw from last month's French Open was fine but admitted to feeling some pain in his hip against Murray.
"My elbow feels good, which is always a positive these days," he said.
"But 2-2 in the first set, I split-stepped and my hip kind of pinched a little bit. I was dealing with a little bit of pain for the whole match, as ridiculous as that sounds because the guy (Murray) was out with a hip injury."
It was Kyrgios' first victory over the two-time Wimbledon champion at his sixth attempt and also his first singles victory at the historic Queen's Club.
He sent down 18 aces and was broken four times from 11 attempts, winning three from 11 on Murray's serve in his second consecutive match against former Wimbledon champions and top-ranked players.
"If I'm feeling good physically and if I believe in myself there is no reason why I can't go into Wimbledon as one of the serious threats," he said.
"I played well against Roger last week. Up 3-1 in the tiebreak serving. I wouldn't say we played unbelievable today, I played OK.
"I feel like I'm in good form on the grass. My timing, my hands are all good. I've just got to keep staying healthy, hopefully, and I'll be fine."
"Kyle's been playing great," Kyrgios said. "I played juniors with him — I always knew he was going to be pretty good."
Earlier, 12-time major champion Novak Djokovic bounced back from his own French Open disappointment with a straight-sets demolition of Queenslander John Millman.
Djokovic, who lost to Italian giant-killer Marco Cecchinato in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros earlier this month, was rampant in a 6-2 6-1 win.
He will next face Grigor Dimitrov, who survived a tough first-round workout against Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur.
Milos Raonic also progressed but later withdrew due to a shoulder injury.