And on to the grass court season we go! For this week, I am in charge of keeping everyone up to date on the Aegon Championships in London. And it has been quite the start to the tournament I might say. Let’s start with the top half of the draw, shall we?
Andy Murray is looking for his third title here at the Queen’s Club and is the top seed in his return to action after missing the French Open. Murray got the easy victory over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut (who beat American Rhyne Williams in the first round) in his first match, and then cruised past Australian Marinko Matosevic in the round of 16.
In the other part of Murray’s quarter, Benjamin Becker is back on the upset trail. Becker has been the underdog in every one of his matches, but has managed to get through all of them. And they have all been very tough matches. His first round was against Australian youngster Bernie Tomic. Becker won the first set 6 – 4 before dropping the second set 7 – 6 (4). Now most would think that Becker would have trouble hagning physically with the youngster or mentally breaking down. But not this savvy veteran! Becker kept his composure and went on to defeat Tomic in an epic third set breaker by a score of 7 – 4. His next matches he won by the same scores! (Except for the tiebreakers). Becker defeated 12 seed Lukas Rosol in the second round 7 – 6 (2), 7 – 5 and then defeated the seven seed Alexandr Dolgopolov by the same score! Becker will play Murray in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
As for the other side of Murray’s half, things have gone a little more according to plan with Jo Willy Tsonga advancing to the quarterfinals after a tough 3 set victory over Igor Sijsling. However, Tsonga’s opponent is much more intriguing. American youngster Denis Kudla has made his way through the draw to set up a showdown with the number 4 seed. Kudla had a relatively good draw coming in, so this was a good opportunity for him to make it through to the quarters. He defeated relatively unknown Federico Delbonis in the first round easily. Then there was the match with Frenchman Beniot Paire, the number 9 seed. I did not think Kudla would get by here honestly. Paire is at a career high in the rankings and one the hottest players on the tour. But Kudla certainly proved me wrong there. Paire looked like the Paire of old, not really caring, which does get on my nerve a little, and Kudla took advantage. Denis took care of business today against Kenny De Schepper from South Africa. So that quarterfinal is set between Tsonga and Kudla.
Now we can move to the bottom half and as you can see, the grinder is in full force this week!!
Lleyton Hewitt is back in form since his dissapointing loss against Gilles Simon in Paris, and is making quite a splash in London this week. Hewitt defeated fellow grinder Michael Russell in the first round in a long 3 set battle. That placed Hewitt in the second round against the number 10 seed and rising star, Grigor “Baby Federer” Dimitrov. I thought this was going to be a tough out for Hewitt. Grigor’s style has always given players fits. We have seen what Federer can do to Hewitt, and I expected the same from Grigor. But Hewitt’s fight and determination willed him to victory. Grigor has not looked the same since that win against Djokovic in Madrid. Nole crushed him in Paris and barely got by Dudi Sela in the first round. He has a lot to work on if he wants to make a run at Wimbledon. But back to the Australian firecracker. Hewitt upset number six seed Sam Querrey today in 3 sets and will take on Del Potro in the quarters tomorrow.
The final quarter has been fairly straight forward. Second seed Tomas Berdych has cruised to the quarterfinals with wins over Thiemo de Bakker and Grega Zemlja. The number 5 seed Marin Cilic defeated his countryman Ivan Dodig in straight sets in his first match, and then defeated Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in a tough 3 set match today. Berdych and Cilic set up a quarterfinal showdown tomorrow.
There you have it! My next update will be on Saturday where I will recap the quarterfinal and semi final action and preview the final!