Some eye-opening results out of the Queen’s Aegon Tennis Championships today. We are just about 10 days from the start of Wimbledon and already some of the big names are having trouble finding form on the grass courts.
Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic all took it on the chin today in Queen’s while Rafael Nadal survived in three and Andy Murray’s fate with Mardy Fish is in the balance with the match paused in the third set.
The biggest surprise has to be Roddick’s 6-4, 7-6(8) shock loss to Dudi Sela. I don’t care how accomplished Sela is or how much trouble he causes Roddick, Roddick is the second best player on the grass and he should win that match.
“He played great,” the 4-time Queen’s champ Roddick said. “Credit to him. I think he had a very specific game plan, and I thought he executed it very well and never dug himself a hole on any service games, never had any sloppy errors.
“I think I could have done some things differently, but I thought he played a pretty perfect match. I’ve played worse at this tournament before and gotten through and won it before. I feel fine about the way I’m hitting the ball and constructing points.”
Said Sela who actually out-aced Roddick 14 to 10, “I played very well. I thought that I didn’t serve well, but after the match my coach told me that I served 14 aces, so for me it’s really good.”
The other major casualty on the day was the sputtering Djokovic who lost to former Wimbledon semifinalist Xavier Malisse 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Cilic was also a loser to big-serving Frenchman Michael Llodra 7-6, 6-2.
The top-seeded Nadal also struggled but advanced with a tight 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 win over Denis Istomin. Nadal improves his win streak to 24 overall and 14 straight on the grass.
“It wasn’t easy for me,” Nadal said. “The day was difficult, too, a lot of wind. The positive thing is I was there mentally in the third. I finished the match playing better and winning the match.”
Also, the Murray-Fish match was suspended at 3-3 in the third due to darkness. Murray was down a break 3-1 in the final set before recovering.
As for the upsets, with Djokovic’s loss it’s hard to classify the Serb as a serious threat now at Wimbledon. Since his allergy attacks he’s been off the radar and now with the defeat it’s clear his still not back at full strength be it mentally, physically or otherwise.
For Roddick, who many people are rightfully picking him to do well at Wimbledon, but is this loss a warning of some kind. Andy hasn’t played much tennis since Miami and with his grass prep over already, I wonder if this lack of match play will come back and bite him.
And while Nadal having just come off a French Open win may not be in form on the grass just yet, Murray should be. And to me it’s not a great sign that Andy’s having trouble against Fish.
So are these losses a harbinger for Roddick, Djokovic and Murray (should he lose, too)? We’ll see.
While the contenders/pretenders were struggling in Queen’s, Grass King Roger Federer continued to mow down the opposition, albeit the light, fluffy kind of opposition. Federer crushed Alejandro Falla 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals where tomorrow he’ll face his first real test in German Phil Kohlscreiber.
“On the one hand, I’m looking forward, but on the other hand I also know that he is the player, who is the toughest to beat,” said Kohlschreiber about facing Federer. “I have not yet succeeded. So, also this time it will be difficult. But I will try to speed things up right from the start, see and hope that I will have a good day to play a close match. Maybe that will shake him, who knows.”
The German is 0-4 lifetime against Federer including 0-3 on grass. But Kohlschreiber did get a set off Federer at Wimbledon last year.
So tomorrow in Halle the quarterfinals are Federer v. Kohlschreiber, Hewitt v. Beck, Lacko v. Petzchner and Becker v. Zverev. (Becker beat Davydenko today).
HALLE CENTER start 12:00
 L Hewitt (AUS) vs [WC] A Beck (GER)
[WC] M Zverev (GER) vs B Becker (GER)
Not Before 4:00 PM
L Lacko (SVK) vs P Petzschner (GER)
Not Before 5:45 PM
 R Federer (SUI) vs P Kohlschreiber (GER)
In Queen’s, the decimated quarters are Nadal v. Lopez, Llodra v. Murray/Fish, Querrey v. Malisse and Schuettler v. Sela.
QUEEN’S CENTRE COURT start 12:30
 A Murray (GBR) vs M Fish (USA) 46 61 33 – To Be Finished 46 61 33
 R Nadal (ESP) vs  F Lopez (ESP)
 A Murray (GBR) or M Fish (USA) vs  M Llodra (FRA)
 S Querrey (USA) vs X Malisse (BEL)
R Schuettler (GER) vs  D Sela (ISR)
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