But Djokovic, who was sidelined by an elbow injury previous year, could yet deliver with a first Queen's title if he stays strong this weekend. "I have to keep my expectation very low, considering my results in the last 12 months". "I was more kind of like chipping and trying to get it back in play, but it wasn't enough".
"Last year I had a match point and couldn't convert it, this year it was Novak".
Kyrgios saved the only break points of the match, recovering from 15-40 at 2-2 in the second set.
'And also if you just lose, you know, slightly the edge or physically you're not feeling great, it's a really tough way to climb up.
"I felt that I was serving really good using all parts of the court really well".
The Eastbourne tournament is the final warm-up event before Wimbledon begins on 2 July.
The world No. 21 showed an array of shots that will make him a risky opponent in the semifinal as he produced a magical lob, a rasping backhand passing shot and a classic drop shot to unnerve Lopez and take the first set tie-break.
Djokovic is only the 10th man in the professional era to reach 800 match wins, and while Jimmy Connors's 1,256 - not to mention Roger Federer's still growing 1,156 - is still a long way off, those who were beginning to write off the former world number one and dominant force may need a rethink.
"I had a great time with him for 11 years, taking him on when he was really young - 18 or 19, and that was one of the best times because he was at an age when he was improving", Vajda told Catherine Whitaker on Amazon Prime Video, who are broadcasting at Queen's before taking over as sole TV rights-holders for the US Open in the United Kingdom later this year. There's a lot of grass court players.
Ultimately it was a backhand drive into the net that clinched the set after 67 minutes, much of which was taken up with the amount of time each player took in bouncing the ball between serves.
The Serbian came through 7-5, 6-1 against his French opponent in what was another routine victory just a day after he brushed past Grigor Dimitrov.