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Tennis London • Ricky’s Picks For Day 4 At Queen’s Club: Del Potro vs. Lopez and Cilic vs. Schwartzman

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro serves to Canada's Denis Shapovalov during their round 32 match at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen's Club in London, Britain, 19 June 2019. The tournament runs from 17th June till 23 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER
Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro serves to Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during their round 32 match at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen’s Club in London, Britain, 19 June 2019. The tournament runs from 17th June till 23 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Rain, rain, go away! All of Tuesday got rained out at the Fever-Tree Championships and there were significant delays on Wednesday, as well. The second round will at least get started (it may not finish, however!) on Thursday, when skies are supposed to clear. Juan Martin Del Potro and Marin Cilic will be among those bidding for quarterfinal spots.

 

Ricky previews those three of the matches and makes his predictions.

 

(3) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (WC) Feliciano Lopez

Del Potro and Lopez will be squaring off for the ninth time in their careers. After meeting seven consecutive times on hard courts, this will mark their second straight grass contest. Del Potro improved to 5-3 in the head-to-head series when he cruised 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 last summer at Wimbledon, his third win in a row over Lopez on the heels of losing their previous three encounters.

Both veterans may be question marks heading into Thursday. Del Potro slipped on grass–again–during his 7-5, 6-4 win over Denis Shapovalov and appeared to injure his right knee–again. Lopez is embroiled in a match-fixing controversy that has suddenly popped up from out of nowhere, but he managed to defeat Marton Fucsovics 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4 in his opener. Based on current form and past history between the two, Del Potro should take this one comfortably if he is even close to 100 percent.

Pick: Del Potro in 2

 

Gilles Simon vs. (2) Kevin Anderson

Anderson and Simon are also familiar foes as they prepare to battle for a quarterfinal place. They have collided once before at this Queen’s Club tournament, as Anderson won 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 during semifinal action in 2015. The South African now leads the head-to-head series 4-1, having avenged a 2018 final loss in Pune by getting the job done 6-3, 7-6(3) in the Pune SFs earlier in 2019.

Although he lifted the Pune trophy, it has been downhill for Anderson ever since. In fact, the world No. 8 is playing for the first time since the Miami Masters in March due to an elbow injury. In his comeback match on Monday he scraped out a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 win over Cameron Norrie. Simon also crushed the hopes of the British crowd, besting James Ward 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2). Anderson is understandably showing signs of rust, and the veteran Frenchman’s defense and consistency may be enough to exploit any serving issues.

Pick: Simon in 3

 

(5) Marin Cilic vs. Diego Schwartzman

Cilic and Schwartzman will be meeting for the fourth time in their careers. The head-to-head series stands at 2-1 in favor of Cilic, with wins at the 2017 clay-court event in Istanbul and at last summer’s Toronto Masters. Schwartzman pulled off a big upset at the 2017 U.S. Open, triumphing 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.

Croatia's Marin Cilic returns to Chile's Cristian Garin 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

Another upset would not make as many headlines due to the lesser scale of the event, but it would be shocking because of the surface. Schwartzman had previously been a hopeless 1-8 lifetime on grass until he beat qualifier Alexander Bublik 6-2, 6-3 on Monday. This is a huge step up in competition, as Cilic is a former Wimbledon finalist (2017) and the defending champion at Queen’s Club. The fifth-seeded Croat defeated Christian Garin 6-1, 7-6(5) in his opener to surely restore some confidence on the heels of a prolonged slump. In these conditions, Cilic should be able to hit Schwartzman off the court.

Pick: Cilic in 2

 

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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