Should Federer be concerned about his defeat to Tommy Haas in Stuttgart? I don’t think so personally. Aside from the Hopman Cup, the Federer-Express had lost once this season, to Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai. He went on to win Indian Wells and Miami, so it’s not panic stations just yet for him. The only worrying thing is that he held match points in both matches. I get the vibe that Federer is only bothered about slams and certain master series right now, so I wouldn’t expect him to turn up at Wimbledon as rusty as this! Haas was superb though, rolling back the years. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that Haas has played in an era where there were several serve/volley type players around! Did he know how to deal with it better than most possibly? Booming forehand and backhand winners from the German! Lucas Pouille was the one who stepped up and took advantage of both Federer and Dimitrov’s early losses though. The Frenchman earning it with hard fought victories over Struff, Kohlschreiber, Paire and Feli Lopez in the final. As you are probably aware I quite like Pouille and this will be a decent confidence boost, I do like the fact he’s equally useful on each surface. The grass court swing is defo back here though as the semi between Mischa Zverev and Lopez demonstrated. No break points until Zverev faltered at 5/6 in the decider! OLD SKOOL!
Talking of Old Skool, Gilles Muller served up a grass court lesson of his own in Hertogenbosch! He is the definition of a ‘useful fast court operator’. Get Gilles on these quicker courts with that lefty serve swinging and you have a problem! He took out Sascha Zverev and Ivo Karlovic in the last two rounds, the latter of which had just taken out top seed Marin Cilic in the other semi-final! Another good example of grass court tennis, seeing these two in the final! Props! The 34-year-old taking the 38-year-old in, of course, a couple of breakers! No break points! Textbook! Nicolas Mahut had won this event three out of the last 4 years but he was ousted by Julien Benneteau in the second round.
I read that Muzza is donating his Queens Club prize money this week to victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Announced by the club. Fair play Muzza, top lad.
Donna Vekic halted Jo Konta’s bid for a title on British soil by coming back from the brink in the final. The Brit will be kicking herself for not winning this but Vekic clearly stepped up her game as she has shown on the green stuff before. Beating Safarova and Konta in two nerve-jangling encounters will do her confidence a power of good. Konta had looked comfortable all week in the lead-up to the final. The victory over in the form Magdalena Rybarikova in the semi stood out. The Slovak had won Surbiton and looked sharp at Notts. It is not a disaster for Konta but there is a slight concern, as I expected her to win this fairly comfortably this week. Maybe that was the problem, there is going to be excessive pressure on her this season and particularly at this time of year! The defeat may actually take a little bit off now bizarrely. It was a big week for Vekic though who was hitting her fair share of aces, is she about to step her game up? She has been around a few years now and it’s easy to forget that she is only approaching 21!
Another 21-year old who has already started to step it up is Anett Kontaveit. Strong off both wings and aggressive. This will be the first of many titles for the Estonian, I am sure of that! She landed the ladies prize in Hertogenbosch, by the way, this has to be ‘my personal favourite’ place on tour. Just love saying it! She beat Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the final. Out of the top four seeds here, only Mladenovic won a match, making the quarter’s, I think she needs a week off before Wimbledon to rest. Top seed Cibulkova, Bertens and Coco Vandeweghe all lost first up.
Vika Azarenka makes her comeback this week in Mallorca as the grass court season really kicks off! Buzzin!
Andy Del Potro