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Preview and Picks for This Week’s Grass Court 500s — Halle and Queen’s Club — Roger Federer Returns

By Ricky Dimon

Week two of the grass-court season (yes, there was actually a tournament in Stuttgart taking place alongside the French Open) will get underway in Halle and at Queen’s Club on Monday. Although the Queen’s Club field may not be as strong as it sometimes is, a lot of that has to do with the fact that there is a ton of star power in Halle. The latter event features Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, and Roger Federer. Tsitsipas will be making a quick turnaround after finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Noventi Open

Where: Halle, Germany
Surface: Grass
Prize money: 1,318,605 Euros
Points: 500

Federer has already captured 10 Halle titles and he is back for more after the 2020 installment was cancelled because of Covid-19 (the Swiss would have missed it anyway because of a knee injury). To say Federer will have a difficult time winning No. 11 would be a gross understatement. One, he has played only six matches this season. Two, this draw is absolutely loaded. The 39-year-old should be able to get past Ilya Ivashka on Monday, but Stuttgart runner-up Felix Auger-Aliassime would be a tough second-round opponent. Medvedev in the quarters and potentially Zverev in the semis just adds to the intrigue.

The bottom half is much softer, with Tsitsipas and Rublev the only obvious title contenders on paper. With the other two seeds—David Goffin and Gael Monfils—struggling mightily, it’s hard to see how Tsitsipas and Rublev will be troubled. Of course, there is always a chance the Greek withdraws on the heels of his French Open run. And if Karen Khachanov suddenly finds his form, there is also a small chance that Rublev could exit in the very first round. If one or both of those things happen, this draw will be blown apart.

Quarterfinal picks: Daniil Medvedev over Roger Federer, Roberto Bautista Agut over Sam Querrey, Andrey Rublev over Corentin Moutet, and Stefanos Tsitsipas over Lloyd Harris

Semifinals: Medvedev over Bautista Agut and Rublev over Tsitsipas

Final: Medvedev over Rublev

cinch Championships

Where: London, England
Prize money: 1,290,135 Euros
Top seed: Matteo Berrettini
Defending champion: Feliciano Lopez

Medvedev, Tsitsipas, and Auger-Aliassime are among those who have defected from Queen’s Club to Halle. Thus the door could be open for the likes of Matteo Berrettini, Denis Shapovalov, and Jannik Sinner. Some would argue that the door is also open for Andy Murray, but let’s not get carried away. Yes, Murray is back; but he is playing singles for the first time since Rotterdam in early March. You can’t expect the 34-year-old Scot to do much. A first-round draw against Benoit Paire is as good as it gets, but going up against Berrettini immediately thereafter would be a tough proposition. Dan Evans, Reilly Opelka, and Marin Cilic could also do some damage in the top half of the bracket.

On the other side, Sinner does not have an easy road. The 19-year-old Italian should take care of Jack Draper in his opener, but he could meet Alexander Bublik in the round of 16, Aslan Karatsev in the quarterfinals, and Shapovalov in the semis. Shapovalov is on a collision course with 2019 champion Feliciano Lopez for the second round. Even at 39 years old, Lopez cannot be discounted on grass.

Quarterfinal picks: Dan Evans over Matteo Berrettini, Marin Cilic over Reilly Opelka, Jannik Sinner over Cameron Norrie, and Lorenzo Sonego over Denis Shapovalov

Semifinals: Cilic over Evans and Sinner over Sonego

Final: Cilic over Sinner

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