Unfortunately I’m not able to go to Wimbledon this year but Queen’s is the next best thing in terms of grass court tournaments and I was fortunate enough to experience a great day of tennis.
Along with the sun coming out at times and drinking pimms the tennis on show was admirable to watch as someone who plays quite a lot. They just make everything look so easy and I could only watch and take note of how they play and try to improve myself.
So first up was the singles final between Cilic and Lopez and what a game it was. Cilic was the favourite as he was ranked higher and has won the competition before but he faced a tough opponent in Lopez who was looking to win the trophy after 12 attempts of trying and in his own words ’15 or 16 years’.
Cilic won the first set just as it looked to be heading to a tie break as both players had very strong serves and didn’t look like they would be broken (both men had dropped serve only once on their way through the draw). But as Cilic was leading 5-4 he finally broke Lopez to take the first set 6-4.
The second set did go as expected as it went to a tie break with both players very evenly matched in terms of serving and playing styles. It was in this tie break where Lopez really came into his own and wouldn’t go out without a fight as he won it 7-2 to make the game go to a third and final set.
The third set followed the same suit as the players balanced each other out and couldn’t be separated in terms of games so it went to another tie break. This time though it would decide who would win and you could tell both players really wanted it. You could sense there were some nerves as well as Cilic received a time violation on his serve and Lopez also took longer than he had done the whole game.
After an intense and tight tie break it finished 10-8 to Lopez and he had finally won the competition that he had wanted to win for years. The world number 32 let two match points slip but also saved a match point and held his nerve to win – contrasting to when he missed a match point and lost against Dimitrov in the final in 2014.
The atmosphere was good throughout as it usually is with many people supporting Lopez as he was the underdog and there were a few Spanish fans in the crowd. They kept saying ‘Vamos Feli’ meaning come on or let’s go Feli and there was one a few rows behind us that was very loud and made everyone laugh a few times when Lopez won a point.
Lopez said in his post match interview with Sue Barker, ‘I thought at the end of the tie-break, after missing match points, that I was not going to be able to make it, it is tough to put the match where I lost to Dimitrov out of my mind. I was serving for the match again and it was difficult to handle my nerves but I managed it.’
At 35 years of age he admitted that he is playing his best tennis and he had to be at his best in this game as Cilic did not lose his serve for the whole game. The match lasted 2 hours and 31 minutes and everybody watching definitely got their money’s worth as it went the full distance and could have gone either way right until the very end.
It was Lopez’s sixth career title and he will now go into Wimbledon on a high looking to cause an upset. Cilic will also go into the main tournament in form and will be hopeful of improving on three successive quarter-final places, with a likely seeding of six.
Cilic said in his interview: ‘It was a really high level of tennis and it was a pleasure to play. It was an amazing match.
I had chances in the second set to get a break up but Feliciano played very well. He always plays well on grass and he deserves the title.
I played great tennis this week and I enjoyed every single day. It was great preparation for Wimbledon.’
After the singles final Cilic was actually on court again (about 30 minutes later) but to finish the doubles semi final which had been delayed the previous day because of rain. The match was virtually over already as Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazilian Bruno Soares won the second set 6-3 (it was 5-3) before winning the special third set tiebreak 10-8.
So it meant that Cilic had lost two matches in one day but he had done well to get so far and will still remain confident going into Wimbledon. It would have been worse for him to win the semi final and then lose the final!
So Murray and Soares then went on to play the final against French pair Julien Beneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Jamie Murray had never won Queen’s before (he lost to Soares and his partner in the 2014 final) fortunately won the match with Soares 6-2 6-3 and they claimed their sixth title together. Murray also became the first British player to win the doubles at Queen’s since 1990. How will Soares and he fare at Wimbledon?
So another Murray won Queen’s but not the one many would have expected. Now all the attention turns to Wimbledon which starts next Monday.