Queens was able to catch up today and completed all their third round matches with the big seeds all coming through. My original draws have been truly shocking this week and I am hoping to do a bit better for Eastbourne next week. Birmingham had some rain, but managed to get all their 3rd rounds completed to pave the way for an interesting line-up of quarter-finals showcasing youth and experience. I will be at the AEGON Classic tomorrow for the Birmingham quarter-finals so note that the semi-final previews for this week’s tournament will not go up until Saturday.
1. Juan Martin del Potro v Lleyton Hewitt (Queens, QF)
The story of Queens this week has been the impressive performances of Lleyton Hewitt who followed up his win over Grigor Dimitrov with a three set victory over Sam Querrey, 5-7 6-3 6-4. It is Hewitt’s first quarter-final of the year and he now faces his toughest test of the week against Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine got the better of the Brit Dan Evans, 6-0 6-3 and has made an impressive comeback to the tour after missing Roland Garros. Del Potro leads the head-to-head by 2 wins to 1, but Hewitt’s lone win came at Wimbledon in 2009 where he prevailed in straight sets. Hewitt, ranked now at number 82 in the world, has had a very solid week and with a favourable draw, could get a few rounds at Wimbledon. On this occasion, I think Del Potro has a lot more experience on the grass and his form has been very good through the first two rounds so I am going for DelPo…
Prediction – Del Potro to beat Hewitt in 3 sets
2. Daniela Hantuchova v Francesca Schiavone (Birmingham, QF)
They may be unseeded this week, but Daniela Hantuchova and Francesca Schiavone have shown their experience this week to set up an potentially fascinating quarter-final in Birmingham. This is Hantuchova’s first quarter-final of the year since the first week back in Brisbane and for the most part, she has played some good tennis this week. She defeated Laura Robson yesterday and today, held off Kristina Mladenovic in a tight three setter, 3-6 7-6(6) 6-4. Schiavone recovered from a break down in the first set to come through in straight sets against the Kiwi, Marina Erakovic.
Schiavone has actually posted solid results on the grass as she reached the quarters at Wimbledon in 2009 and made the 4th round last year, losing out in a tough three setter to Petra Kvitova. Schiavone leads the head-to-head by 5 wins to 3, but Hantuchova won their last match in Sydney. The one before that was an excellent encounter in Rome, which I still remember watching where Schiavone won 7-5 in the decider. All in all, I think Hantuchova will be the stronger player on grass.
Prediction – Hantuchova to beat Schiavone in 3 sets
Best of the rest: WTA Birmingham Quarter-final Predictions
Magdalena Rybarikova to beat Madison Keys in 2 tight sets
Sorana Cirstea to beat Donna Vekic in 3 sets
Sabine Lisicki to beat Alison Riske in 2 very tight sets
Best of the rest: ATP Queens Quarter-Final Predictions
Andy Murray to beat Benny Becker in 2 sets
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to beat Denis Kudla in 2 sets
Tomas Berdych to beat Marin Cilic in 2 very tight sets
Best of the rest: ATP Halle Quarter-Final Predictions
Roger Federer to beat Mischa Zverev in 2 sets
Tommy Haas to beat Gael Monfils in 3 sets
Philipp Kohlschreiber to beat Mikhail Youzhny in 2 tight sets
Richard Gasquet to beat Florian Mayer in 2 sets
I hope to do some live tweeting from the Birmingham quarter-finals so if you are interested, you can keep up to date on my blog page with my Twitter updates or give me a follow directly @MooTennisBlog.