Saturday, September 23, 2023

Lopez, Cilic to square off in Queen’s Club final

Himalayan Paths

London, June 25 (IANS) Spain’s Feliciano Lopez overcame sixth-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the final of Queen’s Club, a tune-up event for Wimbledon.

The unseeded Spaniard will next take on fourth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic – a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 winner, earlier in the day over Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller – in Sunday’s final of this grass-court event, which is known as the Aegon Championships for sponsorship reasons, Efe news reported.

Lopez, who reached the final of another Wimbledon tune-up a week ago in Stuttgart, was out-aced 16-4 by Dimitrov but controlled his service games more effectively overall.

In the third set, Dimitrov managed to fend off eight break points but still was broken twice as Lopez cruised to the finish line.

Earlier on Saturday, Cilic came out on top in a contest that featured 42 aces.

The Croatian hit 20 of them and once again was virtually unassailable when putting his first serve in the court, winning 91 percent of those points.

Muller, however, managed to find a slight chink in Cilic’s armor when he put the Croatian into a 0-40 hole – the first break points all week against his serve. The Luxembourger then made good on his second set point to force a decider.

But in the third set Cilic rolled through his own service games and got the crucial break of serve in the seventh game.

Through his first four matches at this event, Cilic has lost just 10 first-serve points – a remarkably high 92 percent success rate.

Similar effectiveness is possible in Sunday’s final against Lopez, a big server who is not known for his return game.

No matter the result in the championship match, both players will likely be pleased with their preparation heading into Wimbledon, tennis’ premier grass-court event, whose main-draw matches get under way on July 3.

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