The grass season is now in full swing, and last week saw a roster of champions emerge on the lawns of Birmingham, Queen’s Club and Halle. In lieu of our usual Monday podcast, which we’ve sadly had to skip due to some other commitments, here’s a quick catch up on how our predictions from last week’s podcast played out and who we think will be lifting the last trophies before Wimbledon at the end of this week.
Andrew’s pick: Roger Federer (1)
Lindsay’s pick: Tomas Berdych (3)
Champion: Roger Federer
The grass of Halle has long been a welcome sight for Roger Federer after the relative difficulty of the clay season. Since 2003, the Swiss has won the open a record eight times. This year marked the third victory in a row, as Federer prevailed 7-6 6-4 over Italy’s Andreas Seppi, the man who knocked him out of the Australian Open earlier this year. Although Federer only dropped one set in the tournament to Germany’s Philip Kohlschreiber in the first round, it wasn’t an easy road. In all but one of his matches, Federer had to come through at least one tiebreak to take victory, facing challenges from Gulbis, Mayer and Karlovic along the way.
It was Karlovic’s giant serving that proved too much for Lindsay’s pick Tomas Berdych in the third round, who continues to struggle with a lack of rhythm in the 2015.
This will be a good confidence booster for Federer heading into Wimbledon – if he’s a threat anywhere, it’s on the hallowed green turf of SW19. He’ll have high hopes for his campaign and is certainly among the favourites.
Andrew’s pick: Angelique Kerber (4)
Lindsay’s pick: Simona Halep (1)
Champion: Angelique Kerber
As badly as the year started for Angelique Kerber, she’s certainly making up for lost time. Early in 2015 she looked to be lacking confidence and timing but title runs on the clay of Charleston and Stuttgart have really fired up the German world no. 10. There were some tasty match ups in her run to the final, which saw her overcome grass court specialist Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round, former world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic in the third round, as well as country-woman and 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki in the semi-final.
Up and coming Czech Karolina Pliskova made a fierce opponent in the final, taking the first set 7-6 with her trademark hard hitting serve. Kerber was able to rally though, overcoming her demons of the past that have seen her under perform in finals. She fought back to win 6-7 6-3 7-6.
As far as records go, Kerber is managing to stack up some nice results:
The last three WTA Premier-level (Tier II) tournaments, and their champions. Charleston — Kerber Stuttgart — Kerber Birmingham — Kerber
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 21, 2015
Andrew’s pick: Andy Murray (1)
Lindsay’s pick: Rafael Nadal (5)
Champion: Andy Murray
British home favourite Andy Murray will be the talk of tennis for the next few weeks and if you don’t like it…you’d better set your televisions to mute and switch off the internet. Murray looks to be in form at least as good, if not better, than the tennis he was playing to take the Wimbledon title in 2013. For now though, that form has carried him through to a solid win as top seed at Queen’s Club in London. He joins Hewitt, McEnroe, Roddick and Becker as a four time champion of this event, winning it in 2009, 2011, 2013 and now 2015.
Murray was forced to play a resumption of a rain delayed semi-final with Victor Troicki on Sunday morning before returning to the court later in the day to take a 6-3 6-4 win over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson. This was an expected win for Murray, but one that will leave him feeling confident going into the most important two weeks of his season.
He’s playing well, but so are Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. We could be in for another fascinating slam.
The final Wimbledon preparations are underway in the windy coastal town of Eastbourne for the women and in Robin Hood country Nottingham for the men. Top seed Petra Kvitova sadly had to withdraw from Eastbourne with illness and will aim to recover in time to defend her title at Wimbledon. Daria Gavrilova, who is showing promise in 2015, is the Lucky Loser who takes Kvitova’s place at the top of the draw.
Lindsay and I will be back to discuss all the action on our Wimbledon preview podcast during the weekend, but for now here are our champion picks so that you can keep track of our efforts:
Andrew’s pick: Angelique Kerber (6)
Lindsay’s pick: Ekaterina Makarova (4)
Andrew’s pick: Feliciano Lopez (3)
Lindsay’s pick: David Ferrer (1)