LONDON - Former Wimbledon champions Andy Murray and Roger Federer warmed up for the year's third Grand Slam with historic wins at the Aegon Championships and the Halle Open respectively.
Britain's Murray won at Queen's Club by dismantling big-serving South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4 in a one-sided final yesterday.
The world No. 3 showed no sign of weariness when returning to court two hours after completing his semi-final against Viktor Troicki, which had been held up by rain the previous evening.
He had resumed at 3-3 in the first set against the Serb and quickly established control to come through 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
He was confident that his return of serve would enable him to cope against the lanky Anderson, who went into the final having thundered down 96 aces in his three previous matches.
So it proved, even though the South African fired down two more aces in his first service game.
The top seed's returning nevertheless enabled him to make a crucial breakthrough once in each set and his own serve never let him down. A range of drop shots and lobs also proved too subtle for Anderson, as well as suggesting that Murray is in fine fettle ahead of Wimbledon, which starts next Monday. He sealed victory when the South African went wide on a service return, joining John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick from the modern era as the only four-time winners at Queen's.
Over in Germany, Federer beat Italian Andreas Seppi 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 for a record-extending eighth victory at the Halle Open.
The Swiss has now won Halle more times than any other tournament.
The top seed saved two set points on his serve, trailing 4-5 in the first set and dug deep to level. He then crushed the Italian in the tie-break to grab the first set after an hour.
Seppi earned another break opportunity at 2-2 but he sent a backhand into the net.
World No. 2 Federer then squandered three break points at 4-3, allowing Seppi to hold on and win the 10-minute game.
But he did everything right two games later to earn two match points and finished off the contest with a spectacular overhead smash.