For the first grass court tournament after Roland Garros, a number of big tennis stars moved to Halle in Germany to play the annual Gerry Weber Open ATP 250 tournament during June 10-15 2014. Some others went to the Queens Club in London for another ATP 250 event, the Aegon Championship tournament that also concluded on June 15. Two more ATP 250 tournaments are currently underway, one of which is the Topshelf Open in the Netherlands and the other is the Aegon International at Eastbourne, UK. Later, all the big names in tennis will arrive at the Wimbledon village to participate in the year’s third Grand Slam beginning June 23, 2014. A notable absentee in all these preparatory grass court Tournaments was the Serbian world no. 2, Novak Djokovic.
In Halle last Sunday, Roger Federer won his seventh Gerry Weber Open title, when he beat the Colombian Alejandro Falla 7-6, 7-6 in the final. It was Federer’s 14th grass court victory and 79th of his career. Federer, who had a direct second round entry, began with a tough match against Joao Sousa of Portugal. The switch from Clay to Grass was full of jitters for many players and Federer was no exception as he lost the first set on tie-break. But the no.2 seed held his nerve to come through 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 in the end. Federer didn’t have to play the quarterfinal since his Chinese Taipei Opponent retired. Top seeded Rafael Nadal, who also played directly in the second round, crashed out 4-6, 1-6 against Dustin Brown of Germany. Playing his first match since Roland Garros, Nadal found the switch from clay to grass quite unsettling. On the other hand, Federer adjusted nicely for his semifinal against the Japanese Kei Nishikori, whom he beat 6-3, 7-6 to set up the final clash with Falla. Federer had a tough game against the Colombian despite sending down five aces. He had to save five service-break points before winning 7-6, 7-6 to go to Wimbledon on a positive note.
In the other tournament at London’s Queen’s Club, Bulgaria’s rising star, Grigor Dimitrov captured his first ever ATP world tour grass court title on Sunday by beating the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in a hard-fought final of the Aegon Championship tournament. After losing the first set 6-7, Dimitrov collected himself and tried to force his way into the match as the second sat began. However, some loss of concentration brought the Bulgarian on the brink of a blow-out. He trailed 5-6 30/40 in the second set but fortunately for Dimitrov, Lopez sent an easy forehand into the net. Dimitrov played well in the rest of the second set and won it 7-6. In the third set, Dimitrov was broken early and Lopez went up to a 4-3 lead and looked like winning the match as he prepared to serve. But the Spaniard served two double faults in the eighth game and allowed Dimitrov to bounce back into the match. The final set also went to the tie-break and the Bulgarian did reasonably well to hold two match points. Squandering the first, Dimitrov sealed his victory on his second match point with the final score of 6-7, 7-6, 7-6.
Earlier in the Queen’s Club tournament, many seeded players could not progress upwards. Andy Murray, Berdych, Tsonga, Dolgopolov and Stepanek all faced early elimination, while the top seed Wawrinka lost to Dimitrov in the semifinal.
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