World number 113 Feliciano Lopez will be looking to win his first ATP singles title since he won at the Queen’s Club two years ago when he faces Gilles Simon for the same title on Sunday, with Simon looking to become the first Frenchman to ever claim victory at the tournament.
It has been an incredibly tough week for both men, unseeded at the tournament, though they have seen off seeds and, combined, seven three-set matches to reach the final, where they will meet for the eighth time. The advantage seems to be in favor of Lopez, who has won five of their previous meetings, including all four of their meetings in grass, with Simon winning just one set against the Spaniard tomorrow.
The winner of the final will claim 500 ranking points, whilst the loser will claim 300 ranking points, with both set to play again in Eastbourne next week.
Road to the Final
Simon got off to a very tricky start, prevailing in a final set tiebreak to beat qualifier James Ward in his opening round match, though then picked up his first top ten win of 2019 as he downed second seed Kevin Anderson, once again in three sets, to reach the last eight. There, he prevailed in another final set tiebreak against qualifier and fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in one of the longest matches in the tournament’s history to reach the last four, where he rallied from a set down to beat fourth seed Daniil Medvedev in another tough match to reach just his second career final on grass- where he happened to lose to Lopez, in Eastbourne six years ago.
Meanwhile, Lopez has also been through some tight matches to reach his third final at this tournament. The Spaniard, a wildcard into the tournament, came from a set down to beat Marton Fucsovics in his first round encounter, though then did receive a walkover into the last eight following Juan Martin del Potro’s withdrawal. Lopez then reached the last four by winning a final set tiebreak against sixth seed and big server Milos Raonic, before coming from a set down for the third time to beat eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and reach his first tour final since he won the title two year ago.
This match provides an interesting clash of styles, with the Spaniard certainly being more suited to grass. One of the reasons whilst he will have won all the previous grass court meeting between the two is that he has a big serve and is a strong mover. He will certainly hit several aces and unreturnable serves, and will also serve and volley a lot to pick up cheap points. He will look to do this regularly, whilst Simon will hope to return will, and engage his opponent in several long rallies as he aims to grind out the rallies and force errors out of his opponent.
Simon will also be forced to defend well, and it will be interesting to see how well his legs hold up after four lengthy matches so far this week. However, the Frenchman may prove to be just as energised as his opponent tomorrow, with Lopez having had a very busy and hectic week in the doubles due to the poor weather early on in the week. It will also be interesting to see how fresh he is coming into this match tomorrow.
With both having had many tough matches so far, it seems that this could be another battle for the two. Though he has played a lot of tennis this week, Lopez certainly has the advantage considering his grass court record over Simon, and general grass court history as well, and should be able to claim his second Queen’s title on Sunday.
Prediction: Feliciano Lopez in three sets