How is everyone doing after the week break? Nadal won his first grass court title since winning Wimbledon in 2010 today when he defeated Troicki 7-6(3), 6-3 in the Stuttgart final. Stuttgart is an ATP 250 event that doesn’t carry much significance, kind of like what was the case with Istanbul. But a title is a title and Nadal had to battle through some tough matches early on against Baghdatis and Tomic. He needed three sets in both those matches and then defeated Monfils and Troicki in straights to win the title.
Nadal will also be in action at Queen’s this coming week. Usually when he suffers a big loss like the one in Paris he takes a long break, but he seems determined to get back to his best this time. It’s yet to be seen whether he can do so, but given his history you can’t put anything beyond him. His career trajectory is so unpredictable and strange that I won’t be surprised if he wins Wimbledon and the US Open now. That said, Stuttgart was a small event and we will see how he fares in Queen’s this coming week with the big boys back.
- Queen’s Preview(Draw)
Murray will be back as top seed, Stan as the second seed, Raonic as the third seed, and Cilic as the fourth seed. Cilic played Stuttgart too but lost in the semis to Troicki. I must say it’s pretty nice to see Nadal as the fifth seed for an event like Queen’s. He is in Stan’s quarter but Stan is already playing Kyrgios in the first round, and he has another decent grass court player in Anderson in the second round. There has been quite a bit of talk about Stan’s grass court game after he won the French Open.
Rod Laver, for instance, said that grass should be right up Stan’s alley with his big serve. That remains to be seen. Stan did quite well at Wimbledon last year when he lost in the quarters to Roger in four sets. And maybe with the added confidence of another slam title he can go one or two further this year. I’m just not convinced his game is suited so well to grass. His game tends to be favored by slower surfaces where he has time to set up those big ground strokes.
That is why he won slams at the two slower slam surfaces. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyrgios upsets him. His draw will certainly be a test of his grass court prowess. Another weird thing that is going on with Nadal is that his big serve from the 2010 US Open seems to be back, or close to it. I watched some of his matches against Baghdatis and Tomic and he was serving aces left and right. I guess he is just so ‘talented’ that whenever he needs something extra he can find it at will.
Anyway, it should be interesting to see what happens at Queen’s. Murray is the favorite to make the final in the top half while the bottom half is much more open. I guess anyone out of Stan, Kyrgios, Nadal, and Raonic can make the final there. But the main thing I want to check out is whether Nadal can keep improving. The title in Stuttgart certainly wouldn’t have hurt and with his serve becoming a serious weapon out of nowhere again he can certainly do some damage.
- Halle Preview(Draw)
The other ATP 500 event this coming week will, of course, be in Halle where Roger is the top seed, followed by Nishikori, Berdych, and Monfils. Roger’s draw looks pretty smooth until the semis where he could play Berdych. Given his routine win over Berdych in Rome I doubt he will be a big concern. Nishikori on grass is not really a big threat either so it looks like an 8th Halle title for Roger. His clay form was good so I don’t see any reason for him to lose here unless Berdych plays out of his skin or something.
The is in your court.