Andy Murray beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win Queen's
Andy Murray completed the perfect Wimbledon preparation by clinching his second Aegon Championships title with victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The Briton followed up his 2009 win at Queen's Club by coming through 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in front of a capacity crowd, with all 6,858 Centre Court tickets sold after Sunday's play was washed out.
It was only the third Monday final in the tournament's history and more than 4,000 tickets were sold overnight, while 2,000 went for £10 to those who queued on Monday morning, some arriving as early 2am.
A further 1,000 hopefuls who missed out on Centre Court tickets came into Queen's Club to watch the final on a big screen, but despite obvious excitement around the grounds, the early atmosphere on court was surprisingly low-key.
That description might also have applied to Murray in the opening stages as he failed to match the heights of his brilliant demolition of Andy Roddick in the semi-finals, although Tsonga did get lucky with a net cord when facing an early break point.
The 26-year-old from Le Mans had shown in beating Rafael Nadal on Saturday that he can threaten anyone, and his huge serving and powerful forehand began to give him the edge.
Tsonga played a brilliant game to break for 4-2, firing one backhand winner down the line single-handed, rather than his normal two-hander, and taking it with a blistering forehand winner confirmed by Hawkeye.
Murray showed his first real flash of brilliance to conjure two break-back points in game 10 with a running cross-court forehand but Tsonga used his strengths of forehand and serve to seal the set.
When two magnificent second serves helped Tsonga see off Murray's sixth and seventh break points of the match to make it 4-4 in the second, it looked like being the Frenchman's day - but the luck was against him two games later when a net cord fell agonisingly on his side at 30-40.
Murray was still just a few points from defeat but Tsonga could not put the pressure on in the tie-break, volleying into the net and firing a forehand long to fall 5-2 down before the Briton served it out.
After nearly two hours, Murray had finally begun to wear down the Tsonga game but the problem of breaking serve remained and the Scot began to show signs of frustration when another two break points slipped by at 1-1 in the decider.
Tsonga might have been fading but he was not about to give up, and it took some Murray brilliance to finally make the breakthrough - two stunning forehands on the run breaking the Frenchman's resistance at 2-2.
When Murray thrilled the crowd by wrapping up a service game with an outrageous, and completely unnecessary, between-the-legs winner at the net for 5-3, it was pretty clear that he too felt the match was won - and a few minutes later it was, when the world number four thumped away a smash.
He becomes the first Briton to win the tournament more than once since Francis Gordon Lowe, who was champion in 1913, 1914 and 1925.
And the fact that the only two other men to win Monday finals at Queen's - Boris Becker in 1987 and John McEnroe in 1979 - went on to lose early at Wimbledon should not concern Murray too much after an excellent week in west London.
After the match, Murray was full of praise for his athletic opponent.
"He was playing a different sport to me in the first two sets, I have never seen anyone dive so much," he said.
"He is so much fun to watch but not much fun to play against. I had a few chances in the second set but none in the first. He was serving great.
"He was using variation on his serve, and a lot of aggression. But I managed to break him eventually. This has been one of the most fun weeks I've had on the tour. I've loved it."
On his through-the-legs winner Murray added: "I got my feet messed up. I do it a lot in practice but I've never tried it in a match before."