2017 ATP London Queens Preview and Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
It’s one of the biggest ATP tournaments on the calendar up this week, the player and fan favorite Aegon Championships in London. This is the biggest ATP World Tour grass court stop, and here is your complete preview, with predictions.
ATP World Tour 500
June 19-25, 2017
London, Great Britain
Prize Money: €1,836,660
Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Andy Murray (1)
2: Stan Wawrinka (3)
3: Milos Raonic (6)
4: Marin Cilic (8)
London Queen’s is the biggest warmup tournament prior to Wimbledon as most of the top players look to get in at least a couple of matches prior to taking part in a Grand Slam.
First round matches to watch:
(1)Andy Murray vs. Aljaz Bedene
five-time and defending Queen’s club champion Andy Murray shouldn’t have any trouble out of the starting blocks, but Aljaz Bedene is an in-form dark horse who has nothing to lose in this one. Bedene comes off the quarters in Rosmalen and has enough of a game on grass to catch Murray if the Brit struggles with his serve. Murray should win this one in straights, but it’s a good form test for him.
(4)Marin Cilic vs John Isner
The Rosmalen semifinalist Cilic should be safe in this one but Isner is not the easiest round one opponent on grass. Cilic has been in good form as of late, and if Isner can rise up and get an upset that would be huge. Expect at least one tiebreak in this one, with Cilic getting another quality win.
(2)Stan Wawrinka vs. Feliciano Lopez
Wawrinka’s worst surface is Lopez best and that sets up the potential for an upset in this match. Lopez comes off the final in Stuttgart, as he found form on grass already, while the Roland Garros finalist Wawrinka is playing his first match on the surface this year. Wawrinka is the better player, and he won’t back down easily in this one, but Lopez is my upset pick, as his serve and volley should annoy the Swiss into submission.
Murray/Bedene will face Cam Norrie or Sam Querrey in round 2, Querrey is another dangerous player on grass who could catch Murray if the Brit is having a bad day. Presuming Murray makes the quarters, Gilles Muller is his most likely opponent, I have the Rosmalen champion defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili and the winner of Adrian Mannarino/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga is good on grass, and Mannarino is no slouch either, but Muller’s form is fearsome right now, and if Murray gets to the semis, it won’t be because he had an easy path.4
Nick Kyrgios and Cilic/Isner look set to face off in the other top half quarterfinal, Kyrgios is hoping that grass will bring him better form. The Aussie starts with a struggling Donald Young, and then will face the Viktor Troicki/Janko Tipsarevic winner in that all-Serbian clash. Cilic/Isner will face an American, either Steve Johnson or Stefan Kozlov, in round 2. Johnson is dangerous, but Cilic’s form should be too much, as I have Cilic beating Kyrgios in the quarterfinals.
Presuming Lopez upsets Wawrinka, he should have a clear path to the quarters with Tomas Berdych most likely waiting there. Lopez will face either Pierre-Hugues Herbert or Jeremy Chardy in round 2, Kyle Edmund should beat young qualifier Denis Shapovalov before facing Berdych or Steve Darcis. Berdych isn’t in his best form, and thus Lopez is my pick to reach the semifinals.
With Ryan Harrison in poor form, he probably won’t be able to upset Grigor Dimitrov in round 1, Julien Benneteau or James Ward will also be underdogs against the Bulgarian, despite the fact he played poorly in his first grass court outing this year. Milos Raonic should defeat Thanasi Kokkinakis, and then continue to improve his form coming off injury woes this season, defeating either serve and volleyer Nicolas Mahut, or a rapidly improving Daniil Medvedev, who made the quarters in Rosmalen. Raonic is my pick for the semifinals with his powerful serve.
Dark Horse: Feliciano Lopez
I have Lopez reaching the semis and falling to Cilic, but a second straight final on grass would not be out of the question. Lopez just needs to improve a bit on return, and his performances will get even better on grass.
Murray d. Cilic
Raonic d. Lopez
After Murray surprised everyone at Roland Garros and reached the semis, it seems foolish to pick against him on grass at the Queen’s club. I don’t count out Cilic and Raonic at all though, and both should be serious challengers at Wimbledon.
Murray d. Raonic