ATP Queens, London: Preview and Predictions

Andy Murray
This is the most exciting stage of the season as we have barely wrapped up on the clay (in fact we haven’t yet with the mens final carrying over into Monday with Nadal leading by two sets to one over Djokovic) and we are bulldozing our way into the short, but sweet grass court season.  This week on the ATP tour, the men head to Queens in London and Halle in Germany to kick off the preparations for Wimbledon in two weeks (ONLY TWO WEEKS!).  The line-up for Queens is considerably weaker than last year and has taken a big hit with Rafael Nadal opting for Halle and Juan Martin Del Potro withdrawing to rehab his injured knee.  I went for the first time last year and got tickets for Court one, but I just cannot justify spending close to £100 for a centre court ticket with the calibre of this field (and even then it is too expensive!).

Andy Murray headlines the Queens draw with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic and Giles Simon rounding out the top four seeds.  Murray is projected to meet Feliciano Lopez in the quarter-finals, who managed to beat Nadal on the grass two years ago.  After a bye in the first round, he could meet Nicolas Mahut in the second round, whose serve and volley game suits the grass perfectly.  Grigor Dimitrov, who had that fantastic match with Tsonga at Wimbledon last year and Kevin Anderson are in the top section too.

Giles Simon is located in the cakewalk section of the draw with the out-of-form Ernests Gulbis and Alex Bogomolov Jr probably offering the most threat.  Simon’s quarter-final opponent is likely to come from the winner of a potential third round meeting between David Nalbandian and Andy Roddick, which could be one of the highlights of a relatively pedestrian looking draw.

Marin Cilic and Janko Tipsarevic are scheduled to meet in the third quarter-final.  Tipsarevic is projected to meet Ivo Karlovic in the third round, who plays the most interesting of the first round matches against Lleyton Hewitt.  He beat Hewitt in the first round of Wimbledon in 2003 in what was one of the greatest upsets at SW19.  Cilic’s biggest challenge to reaching the quarter-finals is likely to come in Marcos Baghdatis who he could meet in the third round.  
In the final section of the draw, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will play a Brit in round two, either Jamie Baker or Oliver Golding.  His quarter-final opponent is projected to be Julien Benneteau but there are a few dangerous men in this section such as Denis Istomin and former champion, Sam Querrey.  I fancy another final between Murray and Tsonga but it is hardly sticking my neck on the line!

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Queens last year
Also this week… The draw for this year’s tournament in Halle is particularly impressive with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych all opting to play.  Federer could meet Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals, meanwhile the highlight in the first round sees last year’s Wimbledon quarter-finalist, Bernard Tomic take on a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, Tommy Haas.

You can view my full predictions for Queens and Halle… I will be updating them all week!

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