The highly anticipated Aegon Championships at the Queen's Club began yesterday, with Britain's James Ward one of the players involved in the early action. Sadly for home fans, he was defeated in three sets by the number three seed Milos Raonic of Canada. Kevin Anderson of South Africa ensured that Lleyton Hewitt's swansong at the tournament would also be a short visit, as he too came through their first round meeting with a three-set victory.

First set to Ward

With many of the major stars not in action until the second day's play, Raonic was the first of the favourites for the event to feature on court.

The hard-serving Canadian seemed to start well, despite the clear backing of the home crowd for the efforts of Davis Cup hero, Ward. He rewarded their support by keeping pace with Raonic, despite the powerful serving he was facing. Better still, he engineered a break of service and repelled his opponent's resistance to go a set ahead.

Ward falls off the pace

With a world ranking of 109, the Brit was unlikely to last the pace though. Raonic's bombardment eventually wore him down and the expected recovery was completed with a 5-7 6-3 6-2 final score.

One potential explanation for the failure to overcome Ward far easier could have been the lack of match practice for the Canadian. He was playing in his first tournament after requiring surgery to his foot in May and echoed that view by saying afterwards that it was "tough on the body".

Almost a perfect send off for Hewitt

Hewitt temporarily rolled back the clock in his first round match, taking the first set tie-break against Anderson. He had been granted a wildcard entry into this year's tournament and seemed to be justifying the faith in his ability, as he earned a match point in the second set at 5-4.

His rival managed to save that though and went on to take the set himself instead to push the match into the decider.

Anderson's serving swings the match

Anderson proved to have by far the stronger game in the third set, breaking Hewitt twice to rattle through it and to clinch a 6-7 7-5 6-2 success. Key to Anderson's victory was his strong serving, with Hewitt either unable to lay a racket on the ball or commonly being aced.

Finale for the Aussie

Hewitt, a former world number one (at just 20-years-old) and four-time winner at Queen's is now 34-years-old and is currently ranked outside the top 100. This was his swansong at the popular London event and the organisers rewarded him generously at the conclusion of his match. Not only did he receive a bottle of champagne but there was also a trophy for him to remember the tournament by and to take back to his Bahamian home.

The British public will no doubt miss him and the enormous entertainment that the two-time Grand Slam singles winner has provided them with over the years. Many will remember his famous victory in 2002 at Wimbledon, where he defeated the Argentinian David Nalbandian in the final.