Andy Murray's bid for a record-breaking fifth title on the grass of Queen's Club are very much alive after he beat Croat Marin Cilic 6-4 4-6 6-3 to reach the final. Murray's coach Ivan Lendl won this title twice in 1989 and 1990, and Murray replicated something of the Czech's power off the ground as he overcame the 2012 champion.
Murray began with an almost flawless first set which featured pinpoint passing shots and deft touch. But his customary wobble came when he ran out of challenges after just two games of the second set. In the third game, a Cilic serve was called good, and Murray's protests were in vain as he could not challenge. Hawkeye showed the serve was inches long, and Murray lost his concentration as Cilic broke to go 4-3 up. The Croat then held from 0-40 as Murray became increasingly agitated, gesturing that his legs had gone, and Cilic served out the set to level.
An early break in the deciding set saw the Brit regain the momentum and he closed it out with an ace to seal a welcome win, although he was heard at one point berating himself for a "stupid shot".
Murray is bidding to become the first man to win the Queen's title five times – at the moment, he is level with four-time winners John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, and Roy Emerson, whose wins came in the pre-Open era. The last time Murray beat Cilic on the grass he went on to win Wimbledon three weeks later, in 2013.
Murray was pleased with his performance: "There were some really good points in there, I knew I was going to have to play really well to win. On this surface, the serve is an important shot, that last game I hit two aces so hopefully I can do that at Wimbledon."
Referring to the record he continued: "It's great to get to the final again, obviously there has been many great players who have won here, these are some of the best players of all time –John, Lleyton, Boris and Roy. If I can do better then, then that's a good sign."
Hewitt meanwhile has been granted a wildcard to play at Wimbledon in the men's doubles. He was at Queen's supporting his compatriot Bernard Tomic, who lost to Milos Raonic of Canada in the other semi-final.
That means Murray, coached by Lendl, will face Raonic, coached by Lendl's old foe from the 1980s John McEnroe, in the final.
In Halle one of Murray's big threats for Wimbledon, top seed Roger Federer, lost in the semi-finals to rising star Alexander Zverev. The German won 7-6 5-7 6-3 to halt the Swiss star's attempt to win the grass-court title for the ninth time and he became the first teenager to beat Federer since Murray himself in 2006.