Road to Rogers Cup: Will Djokovic defend his Wimbledon title?

Tuesday, Jul 2

Welcome to Road to Rogers Cup, the weekly roundup of all the action on the ATP Tour ahead of the 2019 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at IGA Stadium from August 2 to 11.

This week, we’re recapping the start of the grass court season and taking a look at the contenders for the Wimbledon crown.

In recent weeks: Federer affirms, Lopez doubles down

Rundown

As the grass court season got rolling, some stepped into the spotlight and some asserted their power.

It came as no great surprise when Roger Federer won his 10th title in Halle, Germany, last week. Despite his relatively uncomplicated draw, he still had to fight off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, taking over two hours to outmaneuver his French rival in three sets (7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5).

The new World No.20 Matteo Berrettini continued to amaze and definitely got noticed thanks to his strong performances. In his two grass tournaments, the 23-year-old claimed his third ATP title in Stuttgart by defeating Félix Auger-Aliassime and got as far as the semifinals in Halle, ousting World No.9 Karen Khachanov in the process.

Meanwhile in London, Feliciano Lopez made the absolute most of his wild card and wreaked havoc at the Fever-Tree Championships at the Queen’s Club. Getting things underway as World No.113, the Spaniard overpowered tough opponents including Canadians Milos Raonic and Félix Auger-Aliassime before disposing of Gilles Simon in the final. Hungry for more, Lopez teamed up with Andy Murray to win the doubles event. It was an emotional return to the game for Murray, who was coming back from hip surgery and wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to play tennis without pain again.

Stefanos Tsitsipas seems to be struggling on grass. He fell to Nicolas Jarry in the round of 16 in s-Hertogenbosch and to Félix Auger-Aliassime in the quarters at the Queen’s Club. Will he bounce back at Wimbledon?

Adrian Mannarino was the surprise winner in s-Hertogenbosch, where he vanquished David Goffin, Fernando Verdasco and Borna Coric, respectively the 5th, 4th and 2nd seeds.

What about Alexander Zverev? Besides his less-than-stellar Grand Slam performances, he was routed by his countryman Dustin Brown in the round of 16 in Stuttgart and then by Steve Johnson in the quarterfinals in Halle.

For the record

  • No luck for Delpo. Injuries continue to plague the mighty Argentine. After returning to the game a few weeks ago following surgery, Juan Martin del Potro slid on the grass in his match against Denis Shapovalov in London and ended up back on the operating table to fix a cracked kneecap.
  • Baghdatis calls it a day. After 16 years on the ATP Tour, Marcos Baghdatis announced that Wimbledon would be his last event. Tournament organizers gave him a wild card, and we hope the former World No.8 will survive a few rounds.

This week: Welcome to Wimbledon

There’s no shortage of contenders at the All-England Club. Will Djokovic repeat? Will surprise 2018 finalist Kevin Anderson go as deep as he did last year? Will Federer secure a ninth Wimbledon title?

A few surprises may be in store, since no one knows what the draw will hold!

Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Canadian contingent

With his appearances in the final in Stuttgart and semis in London, red-hot Félix Auger-Aliassime looks as if he’s played on grass all his life. Except he hasn’t, since those were his first ever grass court events on the pro circuit. As for Denis Shapovalov, he seems to be in a bit of slump. Sent packing from the Queen’s Club by Juan Martin del Potro, he couldn’t make it past his first match in Stuttgart against his old foe Struff. Also in Stuttgart, Milos Raonic went as far as the semis and then lost to Lopez in the quarters in London.

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