Like Halle, Queens is upgraded to an ATP 500 event this year and also has a smaller player field than normal with just 32 players. This has resulted in some awesome first round matches, notably STAN WAWRINKA AGAINST NICK KYRGIOS! The line-up of players is much better than previous years and significantly stronger than Halle with five of the world’s top ten. Let’s start with that Stan-Nick match. Wawrinka is the number two seed and in a brutal section that begins against the world number 25. Kyrgios reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon last year and has a super game for the grass. One worry for Nick is an elbow injury that affected him in a third round loss to Andy Murray at Roland Garros. Wawrinka comes in as the French Open champion after a truly majestic run to the title, beating Novak Djokovic in a fabulous four set finale. It’s only a week since that triumph so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Wawrinka’s mind isn’t ready yet for the grass. I would have gone for Kyrgios in this one, but i’m concerned about his injury.
Wawrinka’s quarter also features Rafael Nadal, who has a deceptively tricky first rounder against Alexandr Dolgopolov. The Ukranian player won their last match at Indian Wells in 2014 although it must be said that Dolgopolov performed poorly in his first round match in Stuttgart against Philipp Kohlschreiber and looked disinterested for the most part. Another interesting first rounder features Lleyton Hewitt and Kevin Anderson. Hewitt skipped the clay court season for the grass. Hewitt’s first match in ‘s-Hertogenbosch ended in a loss to Nicolas Mahut, who went onto win the title for the second time as a qualifier.
Flipping back to the top quarter and Andy Murray is the number one seed at Queens. The Brit had an excellent clay court season, reaching the semi-finals of Roland Garros and pushing Djokovic to five sets. An extra week in between RG and Queens would have been invaluable for Murray’s grass court preparations. Murray opens against Yen-Hsun Lu and is seeded to meet Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals. The pair’s last meeting on the grass saw Dimitrov win in the quarters of Wimbledon, 6-1 7-6 6-2. Since that match, Murray has been on the up and Dimitrov has been in freefall. This is a monumental few weeks for Dimitrov. While grass is his best surface and offers him an opportunity to get out of his current funk, he has a ton of points to defend. Dimitrov opens against Sam Querrey, another former Queens champion, in Monday’s last match of the day.
Marin Cilic and Feliciano Lopez are the two seeds in the second quarter of the draw. Cilic reached the semi-finals of Stuttgart, but still hasn’t really got going this year after an injury-plagued start to 2015. Lopez, last year’s finalist at Queens, lost his first match on grass against Sam Groth in Stuttgart. Lopez had a stunning grass court season last year, winning a total of 11 matches. Against Joao Sousa in the first round, Lopez will be looking to get on the board for 2015.
The third quarter of the draw will see Milos Raonic make his return to the tour after missing the French Open with a foot injury. Raonic hasn’t played for over a month and opens in Queens against James Ward which should be a fun one. Ward has peaked at Queens before, reaching the semi-finals in 2011 with wins over Stan Wawrinka and Sam Querrey. In an all-top 15 match-up, Gilles Simon plays David Goffin in the first round. This will be Simon’s first venture on the grass, while Goffin reached the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Unseeded but also of note in this section are Richard Gasquet and Thanasi Kokkinakis. Gasquet played well on clay, winning Estoril, reaching the fourth round of the French and only losing to top ten opposition. Kokkinakis is on the way up and i’ve got a feeling he’s going to be great on the grass. I fancy both Gasquet and Kokk to make the quarters.
1st Round Predictions: Bautista Agut d. Verdasco in 3 sets, Muller d. Youzhny in 2 tight sets, Dimitrov d. Querrey in 3 sets, Cilic d. Mannarino in 3 sets, Lopez d. Sousa in 2 tight sets, Goffin d. Simon in 2 sets, Kokkinakis d. Chardy in 3 sets, Raonic d. Ward in 3 sets, Nadal d. Dolgopolov in 2 sets, Anderson d. Hewitt in 3 sets anddddd Wawrinka d. Kyrgios in 2 tight sets
Final Prediction: Murray d. Nadal
One thought on “ATP Queens 2015: Preview and Predictions”
I’d like to see Cilic turn it around here. He always plays well at Queens and he has the game to blow the others away on grass with his booming serve.