After yet another rain-interrupted and overcast day at the Fever-Tree Tennis Championship at Queen’s Club on Wednesday, we’re hoping that the weather will hold up for the next few days to determine those who will advance past the Round of 16.
Let’s take a look at four of the second-round matches. Hopefully all eight Round of 16 matchups will be played on Thursday, but a few have not yet been set. That means that a few players, like Nick Kyrgios or the winner of Grigor Dimitrov vs Felix Auger-Aliassime, will have to play two matches on Thursday.
ATP Queen’s Club Championships Day 4 Predictions
Marin Cilic vs Diego Schwartzman
Head-To-Head: 2-1 Cilic
Marin Cilic started his title defence in style as he beat one of the tour’s in-form players, Cristian Garin, in straight sets. Cilic has struggled dearly to hit top form this year as he battled a knee injury at the Australian Open and all the way to the American hard court season. The Croatian won just one match between Dubai and the start of Madrid Open, losing in the first round in four of his five tournaments during that time. His renaissance began in Madrid, where he saved match points in the first round against Martin Klizan en route to his first quarterfinal appearance of 2019. However, the Croatian superstar was a victim of food poisoning, which forced him to withdraw from his scheduled collision against World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the Spanish capital.
His path towards retaining the title will get slightly tougher each round, but he will be pleased to meet the diminutive Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the second round. Schwatzman’s record on grass is not the best, but he is one of those players that can break a poor losing streak out of nowhere. Cilic, though, has an explosive game that is tailor-made for the lawns, and Schwartzman will find it difficult to defend from the baseline as he does on clay.
Prediction: Cilic in 2
Juan Martin Del Potro vs Feliciano Lopez
Head-To-Head: 5-3 Del Potro
Reports of match-fixing allegations surrounding Feliciano Lopez has overshadowed his scheduled partnership with Andy Murray as they gear up to play doubles on Thursday at Queen’s. Lopez, along with his compatriot Marc Lopez, were named in an alleged match-fixing case at Wimbledon in 2017. It will be interesting to see what frame of mind the Spaniard will be in when he competes in his singles match against Del Potro.
Lopez will play at the Fever-Tree Championships for the 14th straight year, and he famously won the title here two years ago in one of the most incredible finals at Queen’s Club. He has performed consistently well on grass over the years, but he is now at the twilight of his career. Del Potro was mightily impressive in his straight sets victory over Denis Shapovalov, but finished the match with pain and swelling in his right knee after he slipped during the eighth game in the second set. There has been no confirmation on whether the Argentinean had undergone any medical examination to determine the seriousness of the injury. If the man from Tandil is deemed fit enough to play, Lopez will be no match for him.
Prediction: Del Potro in 2
Stan Wawrinka vs Nicolas Mahut
Head-To-Head: Mahut 1-0
Stan Wawrinka started his grass court season with an excellent straight sets win over British wild card Dan Evans. The Swiss had been tipped by many to fall victim to Evans, who had won two back-to-back Challenger titles coming into Queen’s. However, the former World No.3, who has employed the services of Dani Vallverdu in support of his main coach Magnus Norman for the grass-court swing, was assured from the baseline in his 6-3 6-4 victory.
Wawrinka is a former semifinalist at this event, but he has never been more vulnerable than on grass. Nicolas Mahut will be licking his lips at the prospect of causing a second big upset in succession, to follow his straight sets win over Frances Tiafoe in the first round. This will be a close contest and the Frenchman will be buoyed by that result against the American. But I expect Wawrinka to inject pace in the ball and use his sliced return to counter Mahut’s service games.
Prediction: Wawrinka in 2
Kevin Anderson vs Gilles Simon
Head-To-Head: 4-1 Anderson
Kevin Anderson and Gilles Simon were tested to the limit against British hopefuls in their openers but passed successfully. The South African subdued Cameron Norrie in three sets in over two hours, and Simon needed a similar result to deny James Ward his first main draw win in four years.
Anderson has played very little tennis this year as evidenced by his slow start against Norrie, being broken in the very first game in the match. The tall South African has still not fully recovered from a nagging elbow injury, which limited him to playing only four tournaments in 2019 prior to this week. The 33-year-old has pointed out that while the injury does not prohibit him from training, it does affect his serve. However, those claims were perplexing as Anderson struck 19 aces in the match and won 56 out of 60 first serve points.
Simon made a decent start to the year with back-to-back semifinals in Pune and Sydney, and a quarterfinal in Marseille to round off the first quarter. But after reaching the semifinals at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Morocco, the 34-year-old has had his fair share of poor results. He is yet to win consecutive matches on tour since that showing in Marrakesh. The Frenchman usually plays well on grass (he reached the quarterfinal at Wimbledon in 2015), but shades of his old form seem like a distant memory. Expect Anderson to power to victory with another domineering serving performance.
Prediction: Anderson in 3
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