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Ricky’s Tennis Picks • Queen’s Club And Halle • Federer Playing, Rafa And Novak OFF

By Ricky Dimon


The leadup to Wimbledon gains some serious momentum this week with the Fever-Tree Championships and Noventi Open, as a trio of top 10 players in action across two 500-point events. Stefanos Tsitsipas tops a particularly deep field at the Queen’s Club in London, while Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev lead the way in Halle.


Fever-Tree Championships

Where: London, England
Prize money: 2,081,830 Euros
Top seed: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Defending champion: Marin Cilic


It’s safe to say that doubles will make the most headlines at Queen’s Club–at least early in the week. That’s not to say the singles draw is any less mouth-watering than it usually is; it simply has everything to due with Andy Murray’s return to tennis (he feels fit enough to play doubles, which he is doing with Feliciano Lopez, but not for singles until perhaps the fall swing). As for the singles field of 32, it is once again absolutely loaded from top to bottom. Its impressive depth is reflected in the following first-round showdowns, just to name a handful among many: Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Grigor Dimitrov, Daniil Medvedev vs. Fernando Verdasco, and Stan Wawrinka vs. Dan Evans.


Auger-Aliassime and Dimitrov face especially tough roads through a rough top half of the bracket. The winner of that battle will run into either Nick Kyrgios or ‘s-Hertogenbosch finalist Adrian Mannarino before possibly meeting Tsitsipas in the QFs. The Del Potro-Shapovalov section also features former Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic and former Queen’s Club winner Feliciano Lopez. As for the bottom half, it is more wide open because seeds Medvedev, Kevin Anderson, and Marin Cilic are vulnerable. Medvedev and Cilic are slumping, while Anderson has not played since the Miami Masters in March because of an injury.


First-round upset possibility: Grigor Dimitrov over (8) Felix Auger-Aliassime. Dimitov has struggled ever since triumphing at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. Nonetheless, the world No. 46 from Bulgaria started to show signs of life at the conclusion of the clay-court swing. He won multiple matches in each of his last two events, including the French Open (d. Janko Tipsarevic and Cilic in five sets before falling to Wawrinka 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 7-6(8). Dimitrov should be able to take advantage of an opponent coming off a long week in Stuttgart.

Quarterfinal picks: Stefanos Tsitsipas over Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin Del Potro over Alex de Minaur, Marin Cilic over Fernando Verdasco, and Stan Wawrinka over Gilles Simon

Semifinals: Tsitsipas over Del Potro and Wawrinka over Cilic

Final: Tsitsipas over Wawrinka



Noventi Open

Where: Halle, Germany
Prize money: 2,081,830 Euros
Top seed: Roger Federer
Defending champion: Borna Coric


Federer has a chance to win 10 titles at a single tournament for the first time in his career–another chance, to be exact. The Swiss Maestro came within one set of accomplishing the feat last summer in Halle but ended up losing in the final to Borna Coric. Going one step farther this time around would give Federer double-digits and break a tie with his nine titles in Basel. First in the 37-year-old’s way is familiar foe John Millman, who shocked Federer at the 2018 U.S. Open. Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Benoit Paire are potential second-round opponents, while Roberto Bautista Agut is Federer’s nearest seed. Coric, Gael Monfils, and Hubert Hurkacz are among those who round out the top half of the draw.


Just about everyone would prefer to be on the other side–with Zverev instead of Federer. The German made it back to the quarters at Roland Garros, but in general he is struggling this season and he lost his Stuttgart this past week to Dustin Brown. A strong unseeded contingent at the bottom of the bracket led by David Goffin, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and Robin Haase may be able to take advantage. This is also a big opportunity for unseeded floaters Matteo Berrettini and Jan-Lennard Struff to continue their incredible 2019 form.


First-round upset possibility: David Goffin over (8) Guido Pella. This would only be an upset according to ranking and seed, of course; Pella is No. 8 in Halle at 22nd in the world, 11 spots better than Goffin. In reality, Goffin is the favorite. The Belgian is more accomplished on grass and leads the head-to-head series 2-0. Both of their previous contests have gone the distance, with Goffin prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 at the 2016 Indian Wells tournament and 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 6-3 at the 2017 USO. This one should be more straightforward.

Quarterfinal picks: Roger Federer over Roberto Bautista Agut, Hubert Hurkacz over Gael Monfils, Jan-Lennard Struff over Nikoloz Basilashvili, and David Goffin over Philipp Kohlschreiber

Semifinals: Federer over Hurkacz and Goffin over Struff

Final: Federer over Goffin


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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