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Ricky’s Tennis Pick For The Queen’s Club Final: Gilles Simon vs. Feliciano Lopez

Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in action against Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada during their semi final match at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen’s Club in London, Britain, 22 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER



By Ricky Dimon


No matter that Feliciano Lopez is a former winner of the Fever-Tree Championships–and just two years ago. This is still without question one of the most surprising ATP final matchups in recent history.


Lopez, 37 years old and ranked 113th, will battle unseeded 34-year-old Gilles Simon for the title on Sunday.


Seemingly on his last legs as a player and already the tournament director of the Mutua Madrid Open, Lopez is turning back the clock at one his favorite places. In addition to his 2017 triumph, the Spaniard also reached the final in 2014 (lost to Grigor Dimitrov in three tiebreak sets). He boasts a 24-12 lifetime record at Queen’s Club following wins over Marton Fucsovics, Milos Raonic, and Felix Auger-Aliassime–all from a set behind.


Sunday marks the eighth meeting between the two veterans, with Lopez leading the head-to-head series 5-2. He is even more dominant against Simon on grass, sporting a perfect 4-0 record (9-1 in total sets). They most recently squared off at the Stuttgart tournament in both 2017 and 2018, when Lopez got the job done 6-3, 6-3 and then 7-6(6), 6-4. Simon only forced a deciding set six years ago in Eastbourne, where he promptly lost 6-0 in the third.


“I have a tough record against Feliciano, especially on grass,” the 38th-ranked Frenchman admitted. “I lost the final against him in Eastbourne already. He’s a difficult player to beat on grass. He keeps the ball low. He has this huge serve that is giving him a lot of free points. And then he’s moving really well and covering well the court. So it’s gonna be a physical match, also.”


A physical match is not what Simon needs, as he is in the midst of a grueling week already. It started with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) victory over James Ward, continued with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 upset of second-seeded Kevin Anderson, progressed to the semis with a 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(3) win over Nicolas Mahut, and most recently featured a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Daniil Medvedev.


Simon’s three-hour and 20-minute contest with Mahut was the longest match in Queen’s Club history.


Both Simon and Medvedev looked like they were about to keel over throughout the third set of their semifinal on Saturday. Lopez has been playing a ton of tennis this week, as well (also doubles with Andy Murray), but the Spaniard can keep points short with his big lefty serve that has always troubled Simon in the past.


Pick: Lopez 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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