After the gruelling nine week long European clay court season the focus now shifts to the extended grass court season with tournaments in Halle, Germany and the Queen’s club in England which have been elevated to the status of ATP 500 events in 2015. In first round action two time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal who won the Stuttgart ATP 250 ( d. Victor Troicki) was once again beaten by the Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6,7-6(6),4-6 in Queen’s.
The 2008 champion at this warm up event Nadal had lost to Dolgopolov in Indian Wells 2014. His arch rival, seven time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer barely survived against the hometown favourite Phillipe Kohlschreiber in Halle winning 7-6(8),3-6,7-6(5).
On Day three of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, there were mixed fortunes for German players. Florian Mayer defeated the American Steve Johnson 6-4,7-6(4) to set up a quarter-final against Federer on Friday. The top seeded Swiss avenged his loss at the French Open 2014 as he beat the Latvian Ernest Gulbis 6-3,7-5.
The 18 year old sensation Alexander Zverev lost to the Croat Ivo Karlovic who at age 36 was twice as old. The German Zverev gave a good account of himself as he took the first set tie-break before loosing 7-6(5),3-6,3-6. The eighth seeded Karlovic will face the third seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic who took out Karlovic’s fellow countryman Borna Coric 6-3,6-2. Federer has won the event seven title while Berdych won twice.
The line up in the bottom half of the draw for the round of 16 to be played on Thursday in Halle with my picks mentioned first is as under :-
Jersy Janowicz (-) v. Alejandro Falla (-)
Kei Nishikori (2) v. Dustin Brown
Andreas Seppi (-) v. Tommy Robredo
Gael Monfils (4) v. Mikhail Kukushkin (-)
On Day 3 at Queen’s club in London the upsets continued as the newly crowned French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland lost in two tie-breaks to the tall South African Kevin Anderson 6-7(4), 6-7(11). Anderson fired 22 aces but also squandered five match points in the second set tie-break.
There were mixed fortunes for two Frenchmen. Giles Simon overpowered the Australian Thanassi Kokkinakis 6-4,6-2 to set up a clash against the third seed Milos Raonic of Canada who accounted for Richard Gasquet. The Frenchman took the second set in a tie-break before Raonic who missed the French Open due to injury closed out the third set 6-1. The scoreline was 6-4,6-7(5),6-1.
The line up in the top half of the draw for the round of 16 to be played on Thursday at Queen’s Club wth my picks mentioned first is as under :-
Andy Murray (1) v. Fernando Verdasco (-)
Grigor Dmitrov (6) v. Giles Muller (-)
Marin Cilic (4) v. Victor Troicki (-)
John Isner (-) v. Feliciano Lopez (8)
In the last match of the day, the veteran Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez took out the Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov 6-3,7-6(4). Garcia Lopez who won titles in Zagreb and Bucharest was broken while serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set by Nadal’s conqueror but held his nerve in the tie-break to set up a meeting with Kevin Anderson in the quarter-final. Simon faces Raonic in the other quarter-final in the bottom half.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]