What a quarterfinal schedule tomorrow at the Queen’s grass tournament in London. The top players Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick are all in action in against some stiff competition.
Nadal, who blew two matchpoints on his serve at 5-3, 40-15 in a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 win today over Radek Stepanek, faces JW Tsonga. Murray meets Marin Cilic and Roddick takes on Fernando Verdasco. For the top guys their all winable, all losable.
Nadal, who seems intent on playing as much as possible after his French Open triumph, has beaten Tsonga in five of six career meetings. But Rafa has to be feeling some fatigue following his big win Sunday and I think Tsonga could be the guy to end his Queen’s tournament.
Rafa is also entered into doubles and because of the rain has to finish a second round match and if he wins he’ll have a quarterfinals. That means Nadal could play as many as three matches tomorrow! That’s a lot of tennis.
Another guy who has been clocking a ton of court time is Murray. Considering he tore his ankle almost two weeks ago in Paris, Murray sure isn’t slowing down any especially with Wimbledon on the horizon. Today, the Scot got through Janko Tipsarevic to set up a date tomorrow against Cilic. Like Nadal’s lead over Tsonga, Murray also holds the 5-1 edge on Cilic and I think he’ll make it six. Murray seems to be back in form and arguably is the favorite to win this week, at least he’s mine.
“My ankle felt fine today,” Murray said. “I thought I moved pretty good. I didn’t feel it at all, which is the best it’s felt, which is good news,” said Murray. “I thought I hit the ball much better from the back of the court today. In the second set I thought I played much better towards the end. I was creating quite a lot of chances to break and didn’t get all of them, but that’s a good sign that I’m giving myself chances. He has a big first serve, so it was a good test.”
The other Andy, Andy Roddick, also will have his hands full against Verdasco who just beat David Nalbandian. The Spaniard is slowly playing some better tennis but he’s lost to Roddick in nine of their 12 meetings, and grass just isn’t Fernando’s favorite surface. Still, Roddick isn’t quite the same threat he was when he was in the midst of winning Queen’s four times, but his serve should be enough to get past the lefty.
“Obviously we all come over here with Wimbledon as the end goal, but I treat this tournament as separate,” Roddick said after a good win over Kevin Anderson. “It is preparation, but at the same time it’s still a very important tournament for me.”
In the other quarter, Adrian Mannarino, who stunned Juan Martin Del Potro today in two breakers, takes on the third set winner of Sam Querrey-James Ward which will be finished Friday.
If things work out on Saturday we’ll have defending champion Querrey against Nadal and Murray v. Roddick.
Over at the Federer-less Halle event, Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and defending champion Lleyton Hewitt are all in the quarters tomorrow. Watch out for Raonic who is making his grass debut a good one. I give the Canadian a real chance to walk away with the title on Sunday – he plays Petzschner Friday – and become a very serious threat at Wimbledon.
And despite the loss of Federer, the quarters do look interesting with Berdych v. Troicki, Hewitt v. Kohlschreiber and Monfils v. Mayer.
Unfortunately, there’s no TV coverage of Halle tomorrow in the U.S., but Tennis Channel will have the live quarterfinals from Queen’s starting at 7:30am ET with Roddick.
FRIDAY QUEEN’S SCHEDULE
CENTRE start 12:30 pm
 F Verdasco (ESP) vs  A Roddick (USA)
 M Cilic (CRO) vs  A Murray (GBR)
 R Nadal (ESP) vs  J Tsonga (FRA)
[WC] J Ward (GBR) or  S Querrey (USA) vs A Mannarino (FRA)
F Polasek (SVK) / I Zelenay (SVK) vs  M Bhupathi (IND) / L Paes (IND)
COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
[WC] J Ward (GBR) vs  S Querrey (USA) 63 36 To Finish
FRIDAY HALLE SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
 M Raonic (CAN) vs P Petzschner (GER)
Not Before 1:30 PM
L Hewitt (AUS) vs P Kohlschreiber (GER)
 V Troicki (SRB) vs  T Berdych (CZE)
Not Before 5:00 PM
 G Monfils (FRA) vs  F Mayer (GER)
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Nadal v Isner, Federer v Monfils Headline Blockbuster Thursday In Monte Carlo