Fed’s back on track, Petra finds range, Feli Lopez digs deep and Sevastova goes one better!

The Fed Express won his 9th title in Halle, which came as little surprise. The ease with which he disposed of Sascha Zverev in the final was more so! Federer coasted through the week getting the job done and then took his game to the next level in the final. He admitted that’s his first round loss to Tommy Haas last week (his first in 15 years on grass)shook him. But this now reasserts his authority as favourite for an 8th victory on the silky greens lawns of SW19! It wasn’t vintage Federer, but it was when it needed to be against Zverev in the final and in truth that’s what matters! Karen Khachanov managed to cause the Swiss some discomfort in their semi-final, the Russian is starting to kick on and is a dangerous opponent for anyone right now! For Zverev, who dug deep in beating Bautista-Agut and Gasquet, it still results in a promising week, making the final shows consistency. In his defence, Federer has mauled a few people this season and Zverev would certainly feel he could play better! Second seed Thiem lost to Robin Haase. I sound like a broken record but I wish the Austrian would give himself a well-earnt couple of weeks off, he’s top seed in Antalya this week!
Seeds were tumbling like flies at Queens with Muzza, Stan, Raonic & Kyrgios all going out in the first round, Nick due injury. It’s obviously of concern for Murray, losing to Jordan Thompson, this is his bread and butter in West London. He says he will go away and hit the practice courts as in his own words he hasn’t had “matches behind him”. Stan’s loss to Feli Lopez held up in the form book, with the Spaniard beating Marin Cilic in a final set breaker to land the crown. The Spaniard kept it together, playing the big points very well especially when in danger on serve. After last week’s final in Stuttgart, it puts you in no doubt Feli is ‘ON’ this grass court campaign in a big way! A delight to watch on the grass Lopez when serve/volley, chip charging and slicing away like this! Gilles Muller backed up last week’s title by pushing Cilic in their semi-final, another good effort from him with wins over Tsonga and Querrey!

Petra Kvitova won WTA Edgbaston in only her second tournament back! Some going that! I was lucky enough to see the Champ on my visit to Edgbaston last week and the serve looked to be in good working order against Tereza Smitkova. On the way, she took the scalp of Mladenovic and then defeated Ashleigh Barty in the final, the latter on her comeback this season but for totally different reasons. Barty must be thinking cricket really wasn’t for her at all! Good wins here over Vondrousova, Strycova (last year’s runner-up) and Garbine Muguruza, she has form on all three surfaces, absolutely no two ways about it! Kvitova was immense though, serving well most of the week and finding her range when pulling the trigger, showing the fight she did in the final will also be a huge bonus for here. She has pulled out of Eastbourne this week with Wimbledon in mind, it doesn’t make sense to go a possible 4 weeks in a row! Jo Konta looked out of energy as Coco Vandeweghe beat her in the last 16 and Elina Svitolina still doesn’t look up to scratch on the grass as she went out to Giorgi, also in the last 16. It was a decent week for Lucie Safarova who showed plenty of fight in her matches against Cibulkova and Gavrilova. The Czech actually saved a total of 5 match points in these two matches. It may well have caught up with her though by the semi-final where she pulled out a set down against Petra!
Anastasia Sevastova won over in Mallorca, going one better than her runner-up spot last year. She defeated last year’s nemesis Caroline Garcia on the way this time. The Latvian faced Julia Goerges in the final, who had been superb all week, this was meant to be Julia at her best, hammering winners and opponents. Pavlyuchenkova, Lisicki and Bellis were all dispatched with ease! The unforced’s crept in during the final though, Sevastova just too solid! Vika Azarenka made her comeback here and won a round before getting beat by Ana Konjuh 1 and 3. Her comments afterward suggested that she is waiting to get the timing back and that may take a bit of time. I really don’t think it will take too long, she just lacks the match toughness at the moment! Good to see her back out there though!

Eastbourne men’s and women’s, Antalya men’s, Wimbledon qualies and the main draw for Wimbledon all this week! BIG BIG few days!!

Andy Del Potro

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