Sunday, June 14, 2015

What to Expect at Queen's Club

Even when Queen's Club was just a 250 level tournament it never had trouble drawing top players, and now that it has been upgraded to the 500 level the field is particularly strong.  Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov are all playing, and will be hoping to get some much needed matches on grass courts as they prepare for Wimbledon.

Andy Murray is the top seed and favorite to take the title.  He's been having a very successful 2015 (so long as he's not playing Novak Djokovic) and his game has always translated well to grass.  His half is the easier of the two, as it's hard to see seeds Dimitrov, Cilic or Feliciano Lopez knocking him out.  Isner can always present dangers on a quicker surface, but his return game has kept him from serious success on grass in the past.  Look for Murray to top Dimitrov in one quarter and for Isner to top Cilic in the next.  In the semis, Murray shouldn't have problems neutralizing the American's power with his excellent defense and return, and the Scott will be waiting in the finals.

The bottom half is the more interesting half, and the harder one to predict.  In a tough section including Gilles Simon, David Goffin, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Jeremy Chardy, look for the 19 year old big hitting Australian to reach the quarters.  Kokkinakis has been rocketing up the rankings, and his game should serve him well on grass.  In the quarters he'll likely run into Milos Raonic, who is back from injury and always dangerous on a fast surface.  In this matchup between two of tennis' biggest hitters, the more experienced Canadian should be able to prevail.

The bottom quarter features Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal.  Unfortunately for Wawrinka he opens with the explosive young Australian Nick Kyrgios, who reached the quarterfinals at last year's Wimbledon.  Look for Wawrinka to have a post French Open hangover and fall to Kyrgios in the first round.  Nadal should have confidence on grass after winning the 250 level title in Stuttgart, and should reach the semis without too much trouble.  In a semifinal matchup between Nadal and Raonic, look for Nadal to take advantage of Raonic's rust and escape in a tight battle.

Murray should have the edge in a finals matchup against Nadal.  He'll be confident heading in given that he recently crushed Nadal on clay, and prefers playing on grass.  This will be Nadal's second week playing in a row, and Nadal may not be completely fresh by the time the finals rolls around.  Rafa may slowly be rounding into form, but Murray should prevail in the rarest of the matchups amongst the Big Four.   

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