Andy Murray: Return at Aegon Championships halted by rain

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Queen's
Murray storms to first set on return

Andy Murray faces the prospect of playing twice on Thursday after his first match since suffering a back injury last month was disrupted by rain at Queen's Club.

The Briton, 26, led Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-3 2-2 (15-0) when the weather intervened for the third time.

Andy Murray: The Man Behind the Racquet - watch the trail

British number five Dan Evans had earlier continued his fine run at the Aegon Championships with a superb win over Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

Play was called off at 18:30 BST, leaving Murray and Mahut to return in the second match after 11:00 BSTexternal-link on Thursday.

The winner will then go on to play Marinko Matosevic in the fifth match on Centre Court.

Murray last played competitively on 15 May, when he retired with a lower back problem during his second-round match at the Italian Open against Marcel Granollers.

That forced him to pull out of the French Open - the first time he had missed a Grand Slam in six years - and so he was eager to get his grass-court campaign going at Queen's Club.

Mahut was not the kindest draw, having beaten him at the same stage last year, but the early signs were encouraging for the Scot as he narrowly failed to break in the opening game.

Murray snapped up his next opportunity at 3-3, picking up a Mahut drop shot and flicking a forehand back past him, before going on to take the set with a running lob that left the Frenchman stranded.

The predicted rain then arrived, albeit barely, but it was enough to make the court too slippery to play.

The players returned after nearly an hour to play one more game, and after a further 40 minutes to play another three, but the next shower was significantly harder and forced them off again.

Evans had earlier been three points from victory against Nieminen when rain stopped play, but returned to complete a 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 win.

The 23-year-old from Birmingham, ranked 240 places lower than Nieminen at 277 in the world, won three successive points on the resumption, finishing it off with a drive volley.

He will play Argentine third seed Juan Martin del Potro in round three on Thursday.

Evans had been named among the wildcards into Wimbledon qualifying during Wednesday's match, missing out on a place in the main draw and the guaranteed £23,500 in prize money.

However, he insisted he had no problem with the Lawn Tennis Association sticking to its guidelines of only offering main draw wildcards to players inside the world's top 250.

"I'm grateful that I got a wildcard into quallies, to be honest," said Evans. "I wasn't expecting a main draw anyway. I wasn't inside the criteria, and I think it's good that they're being strong with it, because then there's no grey area.

"You're either inside 250 or you're not, especially for the older ones. I think it's good that we have to play quallies to get a chance to earn our way in."

In other matches, four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt beat 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-3, second seed Tomas Berdych saw off Thiemo de Bakker 6-1 6-4, and defending champion Marin Cilic beat Ivan Dodig 6-3 6-4.

Jamie Murray and Australian John Peers defeated Dimitrov and Freddie Nielsen 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in the first round of the doubles.

Meanwhile, at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, defending Wimbledon champion Roger Federer won his first match of the year on grass, beating German wildcard Cedrik-Marcel Stebbe 6-3 6-3.

Former world number seven Gael Monfils of France was another winner in Germany, beating Czech qualifier Jan Hernych 6-2 6-3, but Monfils announced afterwards that he would miss Wimbledon this year for personal reasons.