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Tennis London • Ricky’s Picks For Day 5 At Queen’s Club, Including Tsitsipas vs. Auger-Aliassime And Medvedev vs. Schwartzman

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece returns to Britain’s Kyle Edmund during their round 32 match at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen’s Club in London, Britain, 19 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER



By Ricky Dimon


A full day of tennis under mostly sunny skies allowed the Fever-Tree Championships to get back on schedule (at least in singles) on Thursday. That means eight players remain heading into quarterfinal Friday, with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Daniil Medvedev among those in action.


Ricky previews three of the quarterfinals and makes his predictions.


(1) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. (8) Felix Auger-Aliassime

Tsitsipas and Auger-Aliassime will be facing each other for the second time on Friday afternoon. Their only previous encounter came earlier this season at the Indian Wells Masters, where Auger-Aliassime rolled 6-4, 6-2. Tsitsipas may have been fatigued in that one, coming off consecutive final appearances in Marseille (won) and Dubai (lost to Roger Federer). Roles could be reversed this time around, as Auger-Aliassime had to work double duty on Thursday due to rain earlier in the week. The Canadian beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4 before outlasting Nick Kyrgios 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-6(5). Auger-Aliassime also just finished runner-up in Stuttgart this past Sunday.

This week started on Wednesday–still a day later than scheduled–for Tsitsipas, whose opener against Kyle Edmund got delayed by rain midway through the second set. The world No. 6 finished it off 6-3, 7-5 and then survived Jeremy Chardy -6, 7-6(0), 7-6(4) after the Frenchman failed to serve out the match in the second set. Tsitsipas may not be 100 percent either, but he played only one match last week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The top-seeded Greek can also shorten points with plenty of effectiveness, as his net game is far superior to Auger Aliassime’s at this point.

Pick: Tsitsipas in 3


Diego Schwartzman vs. (4) Daniil Medvedev

Schwartzman was a hopeless 1-8 lifetime on grass prior to this week. “Futbol” was the first thing that came to the Argentine’s mind when he thought about grass, he admitted. That was until his improbable run that is ongoing, with his focus on tennis and his results–amazingly enough–positive. Schwartzman dismissed qualifier Alexander Bublik 6-2, 6-3 in his opener and then upset fifth seed defending champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4.

Russia's Daniil Medvedev returns to Fernando Verdasco of Spain during their round 32 match at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen's Club in London, Britain, 17 June 2019. The tournament runs from 17 till 23 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER

Although this one won’t be easy, the draw doesn’t necessarily get tougher with Medvedev now on the other side of the net. The fourth-seeded Russian, after all, was on a five-match losing streak prior to this week. Needing some momentum in the worst way before Wimbledon gets underway, Medvedev started to turn things around by erasing Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-4 in round one. He proceeded to avenge a loss last week in Stuttgart by defeating Lucas Pouille 7-6(9), 6-7(5), 6-4 in round two. Medvedev’s style of play should work well on grass and Schwartzman’s sample size of success on the green stuff is obviously small.

Pick: Medvedev in 3


(Q) Nicolas Mahut vs. Gilles Simon

The clock will be turned back when Simon and Mahut collide in a surprising quarterfinal, 15 years after their first meeting at the 2004 Grenoble Challenger. They have met seven times overall at the ATP level, with Simon owning the head-to-head series 6-1. The 34-year-old Frenchman has won five in a row at Mahut’s expense, spanning from 2010 through 2017. Their most recent encounter came on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam two years ago, when Simon prevailed 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

France's Gilles Simon returns to Britain's James Ward during their round 32 match at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen's Club in London, Britain, 17 June 2019. The tournament runs from 17th June till 23 June 2019 EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER

Grass will give Mahut a better chance, as this has always been his best surface. The 37-year-old Frenchman is best known for playing the longest match in tennis history at Wimbledon in 2010 (lost to John Isner), but he is actually a former Queen’s Club runner-up (lost to Andy Roddick in a third-set tiebreaker in 2007). Mahut qualified for the main draw this week and then ousted Frances Tiafoe and Stan Wawrinka–the latter in a third-set ‘breaker. Simon scraped past James Ward—also in a 3STB–before ousting second seed Kevin Anderson 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. This is true tossup because grass equalizes the playing field for Mahut, but Simon’s defense and returning almost always wins out in this particular matchup and it may do the same again on Friday.

Pick: Simon in 3


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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