The Scot ended 342 days away from competitive action after recovering from a hip injury that required surgery in January by taking to the grass court on Centre Court in front of a passionate home crowd.
But it was world No 21 Kyrgios, despite appearing troubled by a long-standing elbow injury, who secured his first win over his good friend at the sixth attempt, coming from a set down to win 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.
“I was thinking how great it was to see Andy back. I asked if he is was okay at the end of the match and he was,” Kyrgios said.
“He came out really good and I kind of expected that. Regarding my own style, I’ve been entertaining since I was kid. I’ve got bad and good things but I’m never going to change.”
Murray, whose ranking has plummeted to 156, insisted before his match that he didn’t expect to make a flying start after so long on the treatment table, but he held his own early on as Kyrgios lived up to his well-earned reputation as one of the tour’s more controversial figures by playing some discombobulated tennis.
The Australian, who pushed Roger Federer to three sets before narrowly losing in the Stuttgart semi-finals at the weekend, was hitting second serves of over 138 mph, and duly dropped serve in the sixth game before Murray wrapped up the set with another break two games later.
The 31-year-old was moving well on a zippy grass court although a few errors starting creeping into this game at the start of the second set, while Kyrgios upped the momentum to rally into a 4-2 lead.
But five-time Queen’s winner Murray hit back by winning the next three games in a row before Kyrgios levelled at 5-5.
A tie-break inevitably ensued, but it was the 23-year-old former Wimbledon quarter-finalist who held the upper hand to take the match into a deciding set.
The Scot’s fitness was put firmly to the test in a final-set decider but he still managed to showcase his renowned fighting spirit to stay in the contest, even saving two match points to hold serve for 5-5.
Murray served to take the clash into a deciding set tie-break, but crucially doubled-faulted to hand Kyrgios victory after two hours and 39 minutes.
Kyrgios will play the winner of the match between British No 1 Kyle Edmund of American Ryan Harrison next.
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