2019 Grass Court Season: Review of Halle and Queen’s Club Finals

Roger Federer overcame a sluggish start to complete Der Zehnte – winning his 10th title at the Noventi Open in Halle as he defeated David Goffin of Belgium 7-6(2),6-1 on Sunday, while the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez competing as a wildcard went on to win a second title at the Queen’s Club in London after defeating the Frenchman Giles Simon 6-2,6-7(4),7-6(2).

The top seeded Federer faced three break points in the fifth game of the first set, but once Goffin was unable to convert all his chances, the Swiss settled in to top form to thwart the Belgian’s bid to win his first ATP Tour level time since Tokyo 2017. Federer faced little trouble in the tie-break and took it comfortably 7-2. In the second set he broke serve thrice in the first, fifth and the seventh game to claim his third title of the year.

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The eight time Wimbledon champion who also reached the milestone of completing 100 titles in Dubai, also won the Miami Open by Itau, his 28th Master’s title. He is now only 7 behind Jimmy Connors all time record of 109 titles and becomes the oldest winner on tour since Ken Rosewall of Australia won when he was 43 years old. It was also his 19th career title on grass and the win assures him of being seeded second at Wimbledon ahead of arch rival Rafael Nadal should the seeding committee follow their own seeding system.

Federer who has 6,620 points currently, adds 2,360 points from grass court tournaments played over the last two years giving him total of 8,980 points, while Nadal who is at 7,945 points carries only 855 points on grass in the last two years which puts him at 8,800 points. This ensures that the Swiss will only meet the four time champion Novak Djokovic only in the summit clash on July 14.

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Federer also improves to 32-4 for the year and is now 8-1 against Goffin whose only win over his idol came in the semi-finals of the World Tour Finals in 2017 at the O2 arena in London. Goffin who was ranked 33rd before the tournament rises 10 places to 23 and is assured of being seeded at the third grand slam title of the year beginning July 1. Federer won Wimbledon in 2003-2007, 2009,2012 and 2017.

At the Queen’s Club in London, the 37 year old Feliciano Lopez won his second title in three years after beating his 34 year old rival Giles Simon in two hours and forty nine minutes. The 2017 champion who had to take a wildcard entry into the event having dropped to 113 in the rankings improved his head to head record against Simon to 6-2, which includes the Eastbourne title he won in 2013 playing against the Frenchman. Lopez got two service breaks in the opening set as Simon struggled to find his rhythm.

In the second set Simon got his lone break of serve to go 2-0 up before Lopez got the break back right away. Lopez who served 16 aces in the match forced a tie-break which the Frenchman won to send it to a decider. Lopez who went 3-13 on break points squandered a match point on Simon’s serve in the twelfth game which the Frenchman won to force another tie-break. Lopez who saved six of the seven break points he faced won it comfortably 7-2 as Simon netted a forehand. Lopez will rise 60 places to 53rd in the rankings, while Simon is now ranked 25th after his first final of the year.

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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