LONDON, June 23: Former World No. 1 Andy Murray�s dream return continued on Saturday as he and Feliciano Lopez progressed to the doubles final at Queen�s, beating the defending champions in the semifinals.
The 32-year-old, who is making his first competitive appearance since what he termed �life-changing� hip surgery, and his partner Feliciano Lopez came through 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 10-7 against John Peers of Australia and his Finnish partner Henri Kontinen.
�It was a good match. We obviously had some chances to finish it in the second set,� said Murray.
�I�m very happy to be in the final.� Murray, who said he felt zero pain in his hip but that his back was stiff and his arm tired from serving, said he had not expected to get this far.
�I didn�t have high expectations at all,� he said.
�Yeah, I think things have probably got a little bit better maybe with each match, as well.
�I didn�t expect to be playing in the final, no, that�s for sure.� Murray, who was surprised to hear Maria Sharapova had offered to be his partner in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon despite him slamming her when she failed a dope test, had attracted a visit from former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho whilst he was practising before his match.
�Yeah, he just wished me well,� said Murray.
�Was asking a bit about my hip and asked him what he was up to, try and see if he was going to come to Arsenal,� added the avid Gunners fan with a smile.
Murray may have been the reason for keeping the stands packed � although they thinned out a bit by the end � but he owed a lot to an extraordinary effort by 37-year-old Lopez.
The Spaniard effectively stayed on centre court for most of the day � winning his singles semifinal in three sets.
Then he and Murray polished off their unfinished quarterfinal before a marathon effort in the doubles semifinal.
Lopez said that if anyone had told him he would have played this much a week ago he would have said they were �crazy.� He was also generous in his praise of Murray. � AFP