Queen’s Club and Halle R16/QF

Novak-Djokovic3-752x428

Sports, other than the incredibly useful analogous portrait of life that they provide (beautiful parallel and often perfect teaching tool), are also needed distractions from some of the more difficult and even horrible life circumstances.

Dig my stream-of-consciousness (bear with me), tomorrow’s the first day of summer, and the boys and girls are playing on the grass.

Are you having fun yet?

In the Fever-Tree Championships, some quarter-final match-ups are set. We have a rematch of a 2017 WB SF between Querrey and Cilic. The top-half SF will have winner that taking-on the winner of Feli Lopez v Kyrgios/Edmund. Lopez looks through to the QF with a Raonic withdraw due to shoulder soreness. Not good for the lumbering giant though this isn’t surprising. One can only hope for health as it strengthens the draw.

Raonic seemed looking to push this grass form he’s developed over the years, but an injury at this point is terrible timing. Even if they “got it” before the injury became serious, this can’t bode well for a Bo5 in a couple of weeks. Indeed, it’s the right shoulder according to reports.

Kyrgios you’d think makes that QF v Lopez, but who knows. I only saw a bit of the Murray v Kyrgios and thought two things. I must have seen 8,000 or so “articles” sharing the Djokovic has advice for Murray on comebacks. The titles all go something like it’s all mental, mate.

The first thought is Murray is not Djokovic. Then again, Kyrgios can often sandbag or even tank, so who knows what you have on that side of the net. If Kyrgios was honest, Murray is no Djkovic (plus the Brit was 5-0 H2H with the Aussie).

Djokovic was (we’re not positive he’s even out yet) in a evil empire style funk, the kind very few can relate to. Unless it’s career threatening, then maybe Wilander knows that movie. Murray had a hip injury and most likely, as we presumed, felt some real burn-out after that 2016 run to #1.

But for Djokovic to say, in effect, remember how mental comebacks are, is mental.

Murray, again, if Kyrgios wasn’t just smoking the grass out there, just needs his physical health. Mentally, he seems fine. Do we need a split-screen on Djokovic’s “comeback” tennis and Murray’s first match back?

I’ve alluded to the other take-away from Murray v Nick. I just don’t trust Krygios. I even linked to that article where he seemed inspired in his loss to Federer. But who knows. Someone said Nick even looked injured in the Murray match. Too many ???? with the Aussie.

At the same time, he’s playing doubles at Queen’s Club with Hewitt. Today the two Aussies upset what is the world’s best men’s doubles team, the Frenchmen P.H.H and Mahut. If only Nick had the heart of his mentor.

Wawrinka and Djokovic were playing doubles as well, together. They lost today.

So, where was I?

Queen’s QF and R16:
Cilic v Querrey
Lopez v Kyrgios/Edmund

I watched a bit of the Cilic v Mueller match. Mueller is fun to watch, a real grass court game. He took the first set clinically, looked poised for the upset; but Cilic is really finding that consistency to be a contender year-round.

If you recall our commentary surrounding him last year, even on the eve of the WB final, you wonder if he’ll find that big-serve/first-strike tennis that can be very difficult to oppose. He had 19 aces today, so this trend needs to continue for the stiff Croat. His second serve was not so effective, unfortunately. Keep your eye on him.

Cilic, maybe Djokovic (tomorrow is a little test), Kyrgios (mental), Raonic (maybe not anymore), Nadal (?) . . . Del Potro . . .Federer . . . : your Wimbledon royal court.

In the bottom-half we have a QF already set:
Chardy v Tiafoe. Very nice to see the American finding some form again. He won Delray Beach back in February beating Del Potro, Chung and Shapovalov in the process. Kid has serious athleticism, but needs a more full-court game. This BL-only security blanket is killing kids.

Winner of QF Chardy and Tiafoe will get the survivor of that bottom quarter, matches involving Benneteau v Mannarino and Djokovic v Dimitrov.

Djokovic v Dimitrov, as I’ve already said, has some intrigue, but really Djokovic should win this, easily. Unless Dimitrov finds some kind of 2014 grass form, Djokovic advances in straights. Or I should say he better.

In Halle:

the competition looks pretty interesting, as well. Even though Sascha and Dominic are gone, keep your eyes in that bottom-half on Coric and Khachanov, though the Russian has a potentially tough one next with Bautista Agut.

And I suppose all bets are off on the new surface, but Karen played Roger tough here last year and can simply man-handle his opponents with that youthful vigor and power. Coric, we went over this back in March, is a young Djokovic-like athlete. I did not see his dismantling of the 2-seed, but from what I hear, his BH took-over the match.

In the top-half, Federer should cruise to the final. Thiem might have been interesting, but my biggest complaint of the Austrian ON CLAY was he’s just too far back, too vulnerable. On grass that becomes even more one-dimensional. Is he over-cooked, too?

Paire has all kinds of skill, but Federer should advance and the rest of that draw doesn’t look very intimidating. As I said last week, his Stuttgart draw was quite the test. Much celebration was had, I’m sure, as he won his first tournament there and beat two of the better grass courters on tour (though one looks injured and the other a bit, as we know, mental. We wish Raonic and Kyrgios massive health, of course!).

Cheerio, tennis fan. Thanks for reading.

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