ATP Weekly Update week 24: Roger Federer reasserts dominance on grass

A new week, a new surface, a new world number one but with a familiar face. Roger Federer made his return to the ATP World Tour in style as the grass court season got underway.

ATP Weekly Update week 24: Roger Federer reasserts dominance on grass
Roger Federer won more than just a crown this week as the grass court season got underway. Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Here is your VAVEL USA ATP Weekly Update. Every Monday, we will be posting results and analysis from the previous week’s singles action on the ATP World Tour, along with a preview to the upcoming week. Keep coming back to VAVEL USA every Monday for your ATP Weekly Update.

After a long clay court season, the tour made its shift to grass this past week, which included the King of Grass once against usurping the King of Clay at the top of the tour. As the tour shifts to the lawns, a familiar face has already re-staked his claim to the helm of men’s tennis. Here is your ATP Weekly Update for week 24 of the 2018 season.

Last Week’s Result

Stuttgart

After taking a pass on the clay court season, Roger Federer seemed happy to be back on his beloved lawns of Western Europe and showed no signs of rust in his first event in over three months. The Swiss had a dream start to his grass court season, avoiding a repeat of his early loss last year at the Mercedes Cup to claim both the title and the world number one ranking.

Roger Federer holds yet another grass court trophy in Stuttgart. Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Roger Federer holds yet another grass court trophy in Stuttgart. Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images

The King of Grass needed some time to find his rhythm in Stuttgart, battling from a set down in his opening match to start building momentum. With the world number one ranking on the line in the semifinals against Nick Kyrgios, the Swiss had to battle again, dropping the opening set in a tiebreak, the seventh consecutive tiebreak between the pair, before rallying in the deciding-set breaker to reach the final which was enough to guarantee a return to number one. With the top spot already wrapped up, the Swiss cruised past former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic to win the 98th title of his career.

Raonic, a two-time grass-court runner-up, also seemed to enjoy a return to the grass. After missing Rome and Paris with an undisclosed injury, the former world number three powered through the draw, not dropping a set or even serve on his way to his first final in over a year. That included wins over third seed Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals and defending champion and second seed Lucas Pouille in the semifinals.

s-Hertogenbosch

The Libema Open was all about the French and the Australians, with the Frenchmen coming out on top. Both semifinals in the Netherlands featured an Aussie and a Frenchman, with Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy claiming victories to set up an all-French final. In the end, it was the second-seeded Gasquet claiming the 15th title of his career and first on grass since 2006 by knocking off Chardy in straight sets in the final.

Richard Gasquet (left) and Jeremy Chardy pose with their trophies after their all-French final at the Libema Open. Photo: Getty Images
Richard Gasquet (left) and Jeremy Chardy pose with their trophies after their all-French final at the Libema Open. Photo: Getty Images

Gasquet was strong from start to finish, only dropping one set in the whole tournament, that being the second set of his semifinal against Bernard Tomic. The Aussie, who got into the draw as a qualifier, knocked off two seeds on his way to the semis before falling short against Gasquet. Chardy kicked off the tournament with a bang, knocking off his countryman Adrian Mannarino, who was the top seed, in the second round. He would take out Aussie Matthew Ebden, who had upset defending champion Gilles Muller in the second round, in the semifinals to reach his first final since 2009.

Rankings Update

Mover of the Week: Roger Federer

There were not a lot of dramatic ranking moves, although there were some significant ones, the most notable involving the Stuttgart champion. French Open champion Rafael Nadal had to do the near impossible during the clay court season to hang on to the number one ranking, defending four titles including two Masters 1000 titles and a Grand Slam.

Roger Federer celebrates his victory in Stuttgart. Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Roger Federer celebrates his victory in Stuttgart. Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images

While the Spaniard pulled it off, it took all of one week for Roger Federer to negate all of his hard work. Just by reaching the final in Stuttgart, the Swiss reclaimed the number one ranking to further extend his record for most weeks at number one. This coming week is his 310th on top. It is the fifth time the number one ranking has changed hands in 2018, the most in any year since 1999.

By winning in s-Hertogenbosch, Richard Gasquet moves up five spots to number 25. Stuttgart runner-up Milos Raonic climbed up four spots to number 31, putting him in a strong position to be seeded at Wimbledon. Jeremy Chardy moved up 11 spots to number 61 thanks to his run at the Libema Open, while the defending champion in s-Hertogenbosch, Gilles Muller, fell 14 spots to number 46.

Race to London

Place Name Points Change
1 Rafael Nadal 5040 -
2 Alexander Zverev 3495 -
3 Roger Federer 3360 -
4 Juan Martin del Potro 3020 -
5 Dominic Thiem 2985 -
6 Marin Cilic 2370 -
7 Kevin Anderson 1620 -
8 John Isner 1500 -
9 Hyeon Chung 1380 -
10 Diego Schwartzman 1365 -
11 Grigor Dimitrov 1365 -
12 Kyle Edmund 1350 -

There were no significant moves in the Race to London thanks to last week’s results. After being knocked off the top spot during the clay court season, Roger Federer’s title helped him close the gap on number two Alexander Zverev to just under 140 points, putting it in play this week. By winning the Libema Open, Richard Gasquet jumped 13 spots, although he is still a long way back at number 21.

This Week’s Action

The two most prominent warm-ups for Wimbledon will take place this week with seven of the world’s top ten battling to take home a 500 title.

Queen’s Club

Just north of the All-England Club, a star-studded field will look to build some momentum on the lawns of west London at the Fever-Tree Championships, better known as the Queen’s Club Championships. Four of the world’s top ten are in action, led by 2012 champion Marin Cilic. He is joined by Grigor Dimitrov, Kevin Anderson and David Goffin. World number two Rafael Nadal was initially planning to play but pulled out after his long clay court season.

Andy Murray hoists his fifth Queen's Club title back in 2016. Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images
Andy Murray hoists his fifth Queen's Club title back in 2016. Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Probably the biggest draw of the tournament will be the return of former world number one and five-time Queen’s Club champion Andy Murray. The Scot will be making his return from injury after having missed nearly a full calendar year due to a hip injury that required surgery in January. The two-time Wimbledon champion has a brutal draw, opening against Stuttgart semifinalist Nick Kyrgios.

The deep draw at the Queen’s Club includes every person to have won the tournament since Nadal in 2008. That list includes Murray, Cilic, Dimitrov, Sam Querrey, and defending champion Feliciano Lopez. Also appearing are former runners-up Milos Raonic (2016), Kevin Anderson (2015) and Novak Djokovic (2008), who took a wildcard to enter the draw.

Halle

There will be no rest for Roger Federer a week after claiming the title and the world number one ranking in Stuttgart. The Swiss will be gunning for more history this week as he looks to win a tenth title at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. The Swiss would join Rafael Nadal as the only men in the open era to win a single title ten times should he add another crown this week. After months of the pressure being on Nadal, it will now be Federer’s turn to hang on to the number one ranking. The Swiss needs to win the title to stay at number one.

Roger Federer will look to add to his nine Halle titles this week. Photo: Joachim Sielski/Bongarts
Roger Federer will look to add to his nine Halle titles this week. Photo: Joachim Sielski/Bongarts

The field looking to cut Federer’s reign short is led by Alexander Zverev, who will have the home crowd at his back. The German has reached the last two finals in Halle, losing both, including last year against Federer, although Zverev upset Federer in Halle back in 2016. Dominic Thiem will look to make a smooth transition to grass after reaching his first major final on clay back at the French Open. The Austrian will be seeded third.

Federer is one of three former champions in the draw. 2016 champion Florian Mayer and 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber, who is seeded sixth, also feature. Roberto Bautista Agut, Lucas Pouille, Kei Nishikori, and s-Hertogenbosch champion Richard Gasquet round out the seeds.

Check back next Monday for a wrap up of week 25 and a look ahead to week 26 on the ATP World Tour. Come to www.vavel.com/en-us/tennis-usa/ every Monday or follow us on twitter @VAVELUSATennis for your #ATPWeeklyUpdate