ATP Weekly Update week 25: Croatians clean up grass crowns

ATP Weekly Update week 25: Croatians clean up grass crowns

When Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic both reach finals, one would expect them both to hoist trophies. Instead, it was the Croatians Marin Cilic and Borna Coric getting their hands on the hardware and building momentum heading into Wimbledon.

pete-borkowski
Pete Borkowski

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.

The big Wimbledon warm-up week looked to be heading in a very predictable direction until finals Sunday when a pair of former Wimbledon champions came up short. It was a great weekend for the Croatian fans as the two 500-level grass court trophies will be heading back to the Adriatic coast. As the grass court season starts to turn toward the All England Club, here is your ATP Weekly Update for week 25 of the 2018 season.

Last Week’s Results

Queen’s Club

The last two years in a row, the Queen’s Club runner-up went on to lose in the Wimbledon final. Last year, it was Marin Cilic who suffered back-to-back finals losses in west London but the Croat got off to a better start in his grass court campaign in 2018 as he claimed a second title at the Fever Tree Championship. The top seed had a brutal draw and was pushed throughout the week by a series of strong grass court players. But when push came to shove, he was able to overpower all challengers.  

Marin Cilic hoists his second trophy at the Queen's Club. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Marin Cilic hoists his second trophy at the Queen's Club. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Cilic’s run culminated in a finals showdown with three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, who was into his first final in almost a year. The former world number one had his big-hitting opponent on the ropes, claiming the first set and holding a championship point on his opponent’s serve at 4-5, 30-40 in the second set. But Cilic saved it with a huge serve out wide and never looked back. He won the ensuing tiebreak before claiming the lone break in the third set. The title is the 18th of his career, second on grass and second at the Queen’s Club.

Jeremy Chardy kept up his hot form, reaching the semifinals a week after reaching the final in Stuttgart, falling to Djokovic. Nick Kyrgios also started to show some of his flashes of brilliance, pulling off seemingly a tweener every match and blasting his way to the semifinals, ending Feliciano Lopez’s title defence in the quarterfinals, before falling to Cilic in straight sets. The tournament also saw the return of former world number one Andy Murray. Contesting his first event since Wimbledon last year, the Brit lost a heart-breaking three-setter in his first-round match against Kyrgios.

Halle

Roger Federer winning the Gerry Weber Open has been one of the safest bets in tennis over the last 15 years. But looking to join Rafael Nadal in the 10-time-champion-at-a-single-event club, the Swiss fell short. Federer looked shaky throughout the week, even needing to save a match point in his second-round match against Benoit Paire. Still, he found a way to reach the final, only to fall short in a three-setter against Borna Coric. The loss cost Federer his number one ranking only one week after regaining it.

Borna Coric (right) stunned Roger Federer (left) in the Halle final. Photo: Thomas Starke/Getty Images
Borna Coric (right) stunned Roger Federer (left) in the Halle final. Photo: Thomas Starke/Getty Images

Coming into Halle, Coric had only ever won two main tour matches on grass, but the young Croatian found his feet on the lawns of Germany at the perfect time. He kicked off his tournament with a massive upset, beating former champion and world number three Alexander Zverev in his opening match and never looked back. Coric did not drop a set on his way to the final, where he managed to overpower the nine-time Halle champion Federer to win the second title of his career and first on grass.

Coric’s title capped off a surprising week where most of the favourites struggled. Only two of the eight seeds reached the quarterfinals, Federer and number four Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard reached the semifinals, where he retired against Coric after five games. S-Hertogenbosch champion Richard Gasquet fell flat in the opening round a week after his title in the Netherlands, while French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem lost in his second-round match.

Rankings Update

Mover of the Week: Borna Coric

Borna Coric hoists the first grass court trophy of his career in Halle. Photo: Thomas Starke/Getty Images
Borna Coric hoists the first grass court trophy of his career in Halle. Photo: Thomas Starke/Getty Images

The surprise Halle champion leaped 13 spots in the rankings, back into the top 30 and past his previous career-high of number 28 up to 21st in the world. The title makes it very likely that the young Croat will be seeded at Wimbledon.

By winning the Queen’s Club, Cilic moves up one spot to number four. Novak Djokovic’s runner-up performance at Queen’s saw him move five spots back into the top 20 at number 17. Nick Kyrgios’ semifinal run in London also saw him move back into the top 20 at number 19. For the second week in a row, Jeremy Chardy made a big rankings jump, moving up 15 spots to number 46 after reaching the semifinals at the Queen’s Club.

By failing to defend his title at Queen’s, Feliciano Lopez fell 33 spots in the rankings out of the top 50 down to number 70. While a far smaller drop, Roger Federer also saw his ranking slip. By failing to defend his title in Halle, the Swiss surrenders the number one ranking to Rafael Nadal once again, the second time this year that Federer held the number one ranking for just one week. It is the sixth time in 2018 that the number one ranking has changed hands.

Race to London

Place Name Points Change
1 Rafael Nadal 5040 -
2 Roger Federer 3660 +1
3 Alexander Zverev 3495 -1
4 Juan Martin del Potro 3020 -
5 Dominic Thiem 2985 -
6 Marin Cilic 2870 -
7 Kevin Anderson 1620 -
8 John Isner 1500 -
9 Borna Coric 1420 +13
10 Grigor Dimitrov 1410 +1
11 Kyle Edmund 1395 +1
12 Hyeon Chung 1380 -3

Despite falling in the Halle final, Roger Federer did enough to move back up to second in the Race to London, skipping over Alexander Zverev who lost in the first round. The Swiss now trails only his rival Rafael Nadal. While he did not move up in the rankings, Marin Cilic’s title at the Queen’s Club put even more breathing room between himself and number seven Kevin Anderson.

By winning in Halle, Borna Coric has leaped into contention to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals. The Croat moved up 13 spots in the race to number nine, a mere 80 points behind John Isner for the eighth and final spot. Novak Djokovic also climbed towards a qualifying spot. The five-time champion now sits 15th, just under 200 points behind Isner.

This Week’s Action

There are two final grass court events on the schedule this week, serving as the final warm-up opportunities before Wimbledon, which begins next week.

Eastbourne

After a tough loss in his lone match of 2018 so far, two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray will be looking to build some momentum heading into his home major as he leads the field this week at the Eastbourne International. The Scot will have yet another tough opening match, as he will open against his fellow three-time major champion on the injury comeback trail Stan Wawrinka.

Andy Murray made his return last week at Queen's (pictured) and will look to build momentum this week in Eastbourne. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Andy Murray made his return last week at Queen's (pictured) and will look to build momentum this week in Eastbourne. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The field in Eastbourne is full of strong clay court players looking to find their grass feet. Diego Schwartzman, who was the only person to really challenge Rafael Nadal at the French Open this year, is the top seed. Brit Kyle Edmund is second, followed by Madrid semifinalist Denis Shapovalov, who lost his opening match at both his grass court events this year, and French Open semifinalist Marco Cecchinato.

A week after reaching the Queen’s Club final, Novak Djokovic will not be defending his title in Eastbourne. The Serbian won the crown a year ago, the last title the former world number one has won. Instead, he will take the week off to rest before Wimbledon. Check out the full tournament preview here.

Antalya

While most of the tour is warming up for Wimbledon in western Europe, a handful of players will go east and do their preparation at the Antalya Open in Turkey. The second edition of the tournament will see Yuichi Sugita look to remain the only person to win on the Turkish grass. The Japanese will be seeded seventh in his title defence.

Yuichi Sugita won the title last year on grass in Turkey. Photo: ATP World Tour
Yuichi Sugita won the title last year on grass in Turkey. Photo: ATP World Tour

Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who fell to Sugita in last year’s final, will be the top seed. He is followed by the only other top 30 player in the draw, Damir Dzumhur. Sugita is one of only two men in the draw to have won tour-level grass court titles, the other being former Halle champion Florian Mayer. Fernando Verdasco, Gael Monfils, Robin Haase, Joao Sousa, and Dusan Lajovic round out the seeds.

Check back next Monday for a wrap up of week 26 and a look ahead to week 27 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

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