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Queen's: Andy Murray & Feliciano Lopez into doubles final

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Andy Murray reached the doubles final at Queen’s as the Briton’s dream return to tennis continued five months after career-saving hip surgery.

He and Feliciano Lopez beat third seeds John Peers and Henri Kontinen 7-5 6-7 (5-7) 10-7.

It was a third match of the day for Lopez, who reached the singles final before heading straight out to resume their suspended doubles quarter-final.

They play Britain’s Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram in Sunday’s final.

After completing a 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Britons Dan Evans and Ken Skupski in a quarter-final that had been suspended on Friday for bad light, they stayed on court to play the semi-final.

“I’m very happy to be in the final,” Murray said.

“It was a good match. It was an unbelievable effort from Feliciano. He’s played a lot of tennis in the last couple of games. He’s not young any more!”

Lopez, 37, takes on 34-year-old Gilles Simon in Sunday’s singles final (13:30 BST) before returning to the court for the doubles final with Murray.

  • Lopez to play Simon on Queen’s final
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More Murray magic

In his three matches at his first tournament since having his hip resurfaced in January, Murray has looked sharp.

Gone is the limp and the grimace that accompanied his obvious discomfort at times pre-surgery.

Instead a relaxed and smiling Murray has returned – and while it is clear he is enjoying simply being back on court, it is also clear that his competitive desire is as great as ever.

A fist pump and roar greeted the ace that sealed the opening set, while in the sixth game of the second set, where he and Lopez were 15-40 down at 1-4, he unleashed a fantastic forehand return that was key to them eventually holding serve.

They broke in the following game and took it into a tie-break, where they were just edged out.

With questions over when fatigue might creep in for Lopez – and when a lack of match fitness might begin to show for Murray against two doubles specialists – they drew enough strength to push themselves over the finishing line, sealing victory when the Spaniard’s serve was not returned.

Murray, who has won the singles title at Queen’s five times, will now have the chance to add the doubles crown – five months after a tearful news conference in Australia where he was revealing his retirement plans.

Murray, whose last doubles title was eight years ago in Tokyo alongside brother Jamie, is playing at Eastbourne next week, where he is swapping Lopez for Brazilian partner Marcelo Melo.

The former world number one and three-time Grand Slam singles champion is then scheduled to partner France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the doubles at Wimbledon next month.

But the Scot’s mixed doubles partner is yet to be decided for his return to Grand Slam tennis at the All England Club.

Salisbury & Ram upset Bryan brothers

While all the attention has been on Murray’s return, compatriot Joe Salisbury has flown under the radar and into the final.

The 27-year-old and American Ram claimed a shock 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (10-8) victory against fourth-seeded American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan in their semi-final.

Bob Bryan, who has won 16 men’s doubles Grand Slams, returned to tennis at the beginning of this year after having the same hip surgery as Murray in 2018.

Salisbury has three doubles titles to his name, winning the most recent one with Ram in Dubai in March.

The pair also reached the Brisbane International final in January.

They are doubles specialists but since Murray and Lopez knocked out top seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastien Cabal in the opening round here, that is unlikely to bother the Scot and the Spaniard.

Analysis

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

There were understandable signs of fatigue in Lopez after his three-set singles semi-final win, but with Murray alongside – bursting with energy and intent – he was able to rouse himself to win a third match of the day.

It was a chilly evening and Lopez had eaten very little for several hours. The pair lost their way at times in the second set, but were not to be denied in the match tie-break.

What a week this has been for Murray, who on Sunday has the chance to win his first doubles title for eight years.

And what a week for Lopez: a 37-year-old wildcard, with a chance on Sunday to do the double.

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Lopez and Simon to meet in Queen's final – with combined age of 71

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Feliciano Lopez and Gilles Simon – who have a combined age of 71 – will meet in the final at Queen’s on Sunday after three-set wins in their semi-finals.

Lopez, who played twice more on Saturday to reach the doubles final with Andy Murray, beat teen Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (7-3) 6-3 6-4.

Frenchman Simon, 34, reached his first final of the season by beating fourth seed Daniil Medvedev 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-3.

Lopez, 37, is appearing in his first final since winning Queen’s in 2017.

“I’m so happy, I can’t believe I’m in the final here again. It’s crazy how we old guys can still perform well,” said the Spaniard, who spent nearly five hours on court on Saturday.

“I feel very lucky to still be competitive at this stage of my career. I would never have imagined I could reach the final of Queen’s at 37 years old.”

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Lopez plays three matches in one day – and reaches two finals

Lopez headed back on court just 12 minutes after his victory to resume a doubles quarter-final alongside Britain’s Murray, beating Dan Evans and Ken Skupski, before overcoming third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers in the semi-final.

“Of course I’m tired,” Lopez said after the doubles semi-final.

“I’ve been playing a lot this week. I haven’t played much because I was injured. I haven’t played three matches in a row in six months. My body feels sore but I’m ready for tomorrow.”

He had trailed promising Canadian 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime in a meeting that featured the largest age gap in an ATP semi-final since 1977.

Auger-Aliassime, seeking to reach his fourth final of the year, had not lost a service game all week and delivered 14 aces on his way to taking the opening set.

But Lopez got the breakthrough to go 2-0 up in the second set when the youngster hit a forehand long and went on to force a decider, and then broke again in the fifth game of the third to set himself on the way to victory.

Another long match for Simon

World number 38 Simon has also spent a lot of time on court here, playing the longest Queen’s match since records began when he beat Nicolas Mahut in the quarter-finals in three hours and 20 minutes on Friday.

And the 34-year-old needed another two hours and 39 minutes to come from behind to beat Russia’s Medvedev, who was the highest-ranked player left in the draw.

“It was hard to recover for this one,” said Simon.

“It was tough until the end with long rallies. It was a tough match. But you relax a bit when you’re really tired and you’ve played a long match.”

Simon could now become the first Frenchman to claim the Queen’s title.

Medvedev, at a career-high 13 in the world rankings, was the first Russian to reach the semi-finals of the tournament in the professional era.

The 23-year-old appeared to struggle with injury throughout the match, icing his shoulder during changeovers several times and holding his back in pain.

  • Watch live coverage of Queen’s
  • Andy Murray’s Queen’s doubles quarter-final halted because of bad light
  • Roger Federer goes for 10th Halle title against David Goffin

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Read & Watch: Felix Fires Four Aces In A Game At The Queen's Club!

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Read & Watch: Felix Fires Four Aces In A Game At The Queen’s Club!

Auger-Aliassime completes rapid service game in semi-final loss

#NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime fell short in the semi-finals of the Fever-Tree Championships on Saturday against Feliciano Lopez. But the 18-year-old did something that you don’t see every day on the ATP Tour.

Auger-Aliassime hit four consecutive aces at 2-2 in the first set, holding to love without allowing Lopez to touch a ball. The teen crushed 25 aces in his loss.

You May Also Like: Lopez Wins Queen’s Club Battle Of The Ages Against Felix

It is another sign of the World No. 21’s improving service performance. Last year, Auger-Aliassime struck 101 aces in 16 tour-level matches, an average of just more than six aces per match. But this season, he has tallied 333 aces in 40 matches, a rate of more than eight per match. At The Queen’s Club, Felix launched 68 aces in just four matches, an average of 17 aces per match.

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Lopez/Murray Double Their Pleasure To Reach Queen's Club Final

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Lopez/Murray Double Their Pleasure To Reach Queen’s Club Final

Popular duo to play Ram/Salisbury in championship match

Andy Murray arrived at the Fever-Tree Championships with no expectations for his first tournament back after hip surgery, but he’s now one match from leaving with the doubles title.

Murray and Feliciano Lopez completed a busy Saturday by reaching the final with a 7-5, 6-7(5), 10-7 win over third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers. Earlier in the day, Lopez/Murray won their darkness-delayed quarter-final over Daniel Evans and Ken Skupski 6-4, 7-6(3). Lopez/Murray led 6-4, 4-5 when play was suspended on Friday night.

“I didn’t know what to expect and obviously I had a tough draw as well, playing the top seeds (Cabal/Farah) in the first match and never played with Feli before,” said Murray. “I think things have probably got a little bit better with each match… I didn’t expect to be playing in the final, that’s for sure.”

Read: Marathon Gilles Wins Another Queen’s Club Thriller

The Brit is into his first ATP Tour doubles final since reaching the 2013 Montreal championship match with Colin Fleming (l. to Peya/Soares). He seeks his first doubles title since prevailing with brother Jamie Murray at Tokyo in 2011 (d. Cermak/Polasek).

Lopez scored his third win of the day with the semi-final victory over Kontinen/Peers. The 37-year-old Spaniard started his Saturday by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime in three sets to reach the singles final.

“He did brilliant. Not just in the way he played, but in the way he carried himself at the end of the match. Big energy. Was getting pumped,” said Murray. “It was cool for me to see that. He’s been on the tour for 20 years and I appreciate that he’s got a big final in singles to play tomorrow and it’s getting dark and late, second day in a row. He did really, really well. It was a great effort from him.”

You May Also Like: Lopez Wins Queen’s Club Battle Of The Ages Against Felix

Lopez/Murray and Kontinen/Peers traded service holds until 5-5 in the first set, when Peers pushed a forehand volley long to drop serve. An ace from Murray on set point gave his team the early advantage.

Down 1-4, 0/40 in the second set, Lopez/Murray completed a remarkable turnaround by winning 12 consecutive points. A return winner from Murray on Kontinen’s serve at 5-5 gave the Brit an opportunity to serve out the match, but he couldn’t convert. Kontinen/Peers completed another great escape in the tie-break, rallying from 1/3 to force a Match Tie-break.

With the crowd firmly in Lopez/Murray’s corner, the Spaniard rifled a backhand passing shot for a 4/2 lead in the Match Tie-break. The unseeded duo maintained their slight advantage and prevailed in one hour and 44 minutes.

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Awaiting Lopez/Murray in Sunday’s championship match are Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who defeated fourth seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 7-6(4), 7-6(8). They saved two set points in the second-set tie-break at 5/6 and 7/8 before advancing in one hour and 29 minutes.

Ram/Salisbury are through to their third ATP Tour doubles final this season. They prevailed in Dubai (d. McLachlan/Struff) and finished runner-up in Brisbane (l. to Daniel/Koolhof).

“It’s obviously been an amazing event with Andy coming back here. It’s great to see him back and great for the sport and especially great for doubles having him in the tournament,” said Salisbury. “If I wasn’t playing Andy, I’d get a bit more support in the final!

“I have won two [ATP] 500 titles before, but I think this would be extra special and an even bigger title just because of the fact I’m playing at home… I’m sure it will be a great experience in the final no matter what happens.”

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Del Potro Injury Update: Argentine Completes Knee Surgery

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Del Potro Injury Update: Argentine Completes Knee Surgery

World No. 12 fractured right kneecap at Queen’s Club

Juan Martin del Potro is on the road to recovery. The Argentine underwent a successful surgery on Saturday in Barcelona to repair his fractured right kneecap.

A statement from Del Potro’s team said he “completed his surgery with great success… in the Crue Bianca Clinic in Barcelona. The operation was performed by Dr. Jaume Vilaro and Dr. Angel Ruiz Cotorro, who proceeded with removing a bone fragment.”

Del Potro slipped in the second set of his first-round match on Wednesday against Denis Shapovalov at the Fever-Tree Championships. He hung on for the win, but underwent medical tests after noticing pain and swelling in the knee.

You May Also Like: Del Potro To Undergo Surgery

The fractured right kneecap is the same injury he suffered last October at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, which cut his season short and limited him to five tournaments this year. Del Potro took to his Instagram yesterday and explained that his doctors advised surgery would be the best option.

“I asked them for the best option health-wise, not just for tennis,” said Del Potro. “As you can imagine, this is a tough moment. It’s sad to go through all this again. I didn’t expect this at all…hopefully I will have a good recovery. I hope my knee can heal properly.”

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Lopez Wins Queen's Club Battle Of The Ages Against Felix

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Lopez Wins Queen’s Club Battle Of The Ages Against Felix

Spaniard to play Simon in championship match

Feliciano Lopez arrived at the Fever-Tree Championships with just three ATP Tour main draw wins this season, but the Spanish wild card is now one match away from another grass-court title.

In a battle of experience against youth, he defeated eighth-seeded #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4. The match between 37-year-old Lopez and 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime marked the largest age difference in an ATP Tour semi-final or final since Hong Kong in 1977, when Ken Rosewall (43) defeated Pat Dupre (23) in the semi-finals.

Lopez is also into the doubles final with Andy Murray. The pair won two matches on Saturday, completing a darkness-delayed quarter-final over Daniel Evans and Ken Skupski before defeating third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers. Lopez spent well over four hours on court to pick up the three victories.

“If someone told me this a week ago, I would say you’re crazy because it feels so great. To be here again in the finals in both singles and doubles, it’s tough to believe,” said Lopez. “I thought that somehow things are going to go well on the grass and this week has been fantastic from the very beginning.”

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Lopez is through to his first ATP Tour final since prevailing here two years ago (d. Cilic). He also broke ground as the oldest Queen’s Club finalist in the Open Era.

Awaiting him in the final is another veteran in 34-year-old Gilles Simon, who defeated fourth seed Daniil Medvedev in a marathon three-set match earlier in the day. Lopez leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 5-2 and has won all four of their grass-court meetings, including the 2013 Eastbourne final.

Auger-Aliassime drops to 6-2 in his first professional grass-court season. Had he defeated Lopez, the Canadian would have cracked the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings on Monday. He currently sits at a career-high of No. 21.

You May Also Like: Marathon Gilles: Simon Ousts Medvedev In Queen’s Club Thriller

Both players traded service holds throughout the opening set. Auger-Aliassime raised his level in the tie-break, cracking a backhand passing shot winner to take a 4/2 lead. Serving at 3/6, Lopez tumbled at the net while attempting a forehand volley and allowed the Canadian to place a forehand in the open court. The Canadian dropped just five points on serve in the opening set.

Watch: Felix’s Game Of Aces At Queen’s Club 

After 44 consecutive holds, a pair of forehand errors at 0-1 in the second set led to Auger-Aliassime dropping serve for the first time this week. The 18-year-old became frustrated as he struggled with his footing on the grass and timing on his forehand. Auger-Aliassime hit 21 winners to 10 unforced errors in the first set, but hit seven winners and 11 errors in the second set.

Lopez remained steady from the baseline, but also flattened out his forehand and made more frequent trips to the net to force a deciding set. He won seven of nine net points in the second set and prevailed in 79 per cent of his first-serve points.

Auger-Aliassime sent a backhand wide to give Lopez a crucial break to lead 3-2 in the deciding set. But serving at 3-5, the Canadian bravely fought back from 0/40 and saved four match points with a barrage of aces and winners. Lopez remained calm and served out the match in the next game, flicking a forehand drop shot winner and laughing in disbelief as he advanced after two hours after 17 minutes.

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Roger Federer goes for 10th Halle title against David Goffin

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Roger Federer will play David Goffin in the Halle Open final as he bids for a 10th title at the tournament.

The Swiss, 37, beat Andy Murray’s Wimbledon doubles partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3 6-3 in the semi-final.

Belgian world number 33 Goffin, 28, reached his first ATP tour final since 2017 with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win against rising Italian star Matteo Berrettini.

“It is very special,” said eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer, who is the top seed at Halle.

“I am glad I got another chance this year, because I really didn’t know if I would ever play another Halle final.”

It has not been a straightforward run on grass in Germany for the 20-time Grand Slam champion so far, who dropped a set against both Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roberto Bautista Agut in earlier rounds.

Goffin knocked out world number five and home favourite Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals on Thursday, but has lost seven of his last eight meetings with Federer.

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Federer: 'I Didn’t Know If I Was Going To Ever Be In Another Halle Final'

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Federer: ‘I Didn’t Know If I Was Going To Ever Be In Another Halle Final’

Top seed to face Goffin for the trophy

Nine-time champion Roger Federer beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert Saturday to reach the NOVENTI OPEN final, giving himself a chance to play for title No. 10 at the event. A year ago, Federer was upset in the final by Borna Coric. And despite that being his 12th championship match at the ATP 500 tournament, the Swiss didn’t know if he’d ever battle for the trophy in Halle again.

“I get a chance a year later because after my loss here last year, I didn’t know if I was going to ever be in another Halle final,” Federer said. “You always leave with a bittersweet taste where you had a good tournament and yet you’re frustrated you lost the final. So I’m happy I’ve got another opportunity to win this tournament I like so much, and of course it will be special to win a tournament for the first time ten times.”

The top seed knows that if he defeats David Goffin on Sunday, he will lift his 10th trophy at this event, a feat he has yet to accomplish. But the 101-time tour-level titlist also understands he needs to win the match before thinking about that.

“Somebody tough is going to be there in the final to make my life difficult. So I’m really just going to be trying to focus on the match,” Federer said. “I know it sounds boring but that’s what I’ve got to do, block out all the rest, and I did that exactly today as well. I was just really focussed, a point-for-point mentality. I think that is what’s going to get me over the line tomorrow.”

Federer – Most Finals By Tournament

 Basel  14
 Halle  13
 Wimbledon  11
 Nitto ATP Finals  10
 Dubai  10

The fact that it’s the 13th time he will compete for the Halle trophy isn’t particularly significant for the 37-year-old, whose personal record for number of finals reached is 14, at his hometown tournament in Basel.

“It’s just that it is another final on top of all the finals that I’ve played here, that I get another chance after last year’s loss against Coric,” Federer said.

In the semi-finals, Federer faced an aggressive player in Herbert, who likes to come to net often. They had never played before. But Federer knows Goffin well, owning a 7-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against the Belgian, including a victory in Halle three years ago.

“Maybe tomorrow I can expect again more like the Bautista Agut match, tough baseliner, moves super-fast and that’s where his qualities lie, to be able to dominate the baseline,” Federer said. “I think today was good. I was better in first-strike tennis, I was able to stay out of trouble on my serve and utilise my chances when I had them on the return. So I was very happy.”

Federer – Most Titles By Tournament

 Halle  9*
 Basel  9
 Wimbledon  8
 Dubai  8
 Cincinnati  7

This is Federer’s first grass-court tournament of the season, whereas in the past two years, he also competed in Stuttgart because he did not play on clay in those years. Federer has not been put off by the transition, though.

“So far, I’m very happy,” Federer said. “My game is there where I want it to be.”

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Marathon Gilles: Simon Ousts Medvedev In Queen's Club Thriller

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Marathon Gilles: Simon Ousts Medvedev In Queen’s Club Thriller

Simon to play Auger-Aliassime or Lopez in final

Gilles Simon isn’t making it easy for himself at the Fever-Tree Championships, but he’s getting the job done.

After defeating Nicolas Mahut on Friday in the longest match on record at the Queen’s Club since 1991 (three hours and 21 minutes), he took out fourth seed Daniil Medvedev 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 38 minutes on Saturday to reach the final.

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“It was hard to recover for this one. Daniil and I practise together and we knew it was going to be tough,” said Simon. “It’s hard for me to hit through him, but when you play a match and you’re a bit tired, sometimes you relax and play great. I was feeling the ball great, even if I wasn’t feeling great in the legs.”

The Frenchman is through to his first final of the season after semi-final finishes in Pune, Sydney and Marrakech. Sunday will mark his first grass-court final since Eastbourne in 2013 (l. to Lopez). He seeks his first title on the surface and to become the first French player to win this event.

Simon awaits the winner between eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and wild card Feliciano Lopez.

You May Also Like: Federer Flies Into 13th Final In Halle

“It’s a really hard tournament to win and one of the best in the season. You only have the top players who are able to win here,” said Simon. “I’d like to be part of that list, but I’m just focussed on recovering now and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

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Ashleigh Barty one win from world number one spot after reaching Birmingham final

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2019

Ashleigh Barty is one win from becoming world number one after beating Barbora Strycova to reach the final of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

The French Open champion will replace Naomi Osaka at the top of the rankings if she wins the title on Sunday.

Barty, who won her maiden singles Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, beat the Czech world number 51 6-4 6-4.

The 23-year-old Australian will face Germany’s Julia Gorges or Croatia’s Petra Martic in the final.

“It’s nice to be in another final. It’s been a hell of a year so far,” said Barty.

“Whatever happens happens. We’re having a really good time at the moment and hopefully we can go one more tomorrow.”

Barty and Gorges are also going for the women’s doubles title and will play together in the semi-final against fourth seeds Anna-Lena Gronefeld and Demi Schuurs later on Saturday.

  • Andy Murray column: I asked Ashleigh Barty to partner me at Wimbledon
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