2018 Fever Tree Championships Draw: Preview & Analysis
Jun 16 4 min read10:09 am
The scenic grass courts of Queen’s Club will be once again filled with the world’s best tennis players as the top ranked men warm up for the Wimbledon Championships starting on July 2.
World No. 33 Feliciano Lopez is the defending champion at Queen’s and is unseeded yet again in this year’s draw. Lopez defeated Marin Cilic last year in a thrilling deciding set tiebreak to win his third singles title on grass. Cilic is the top seed this year followed by Grigor Dimitrov, Kevin Anderson, David Goffin and Sam Querrey.
Juan Martin Del Potro and Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament after Roland Garros. Nevertheless, the field at the Fever Tree Championships appears rock solid and promises to have some nail biting encounters right from the first round.
Top half: Cilic, Goffin, Lopez, Wawrinka, Murray
Marin Cilic will face Fernando Verdasco for the 14th time in his career in a highly challenging opening round for the top seed. The Croat leads 8-5 against the Spaniard. However, Verdasco won their lone meeting on grass a decade back at the semi-finals of Nottingham. The winner will face either Canadian No.1 Denis Shapovalov or last year’s semi-finalist Gilles Muller. Muller was defeated last year by Cilic in three sets.
Stan Wawrinka was seeded second last year and suffered an opening round loss to eventual champion Feliciano Lopez. Ever since, Wawrinka has been hampered by a knee injury and struggled to get back in rhythm on the circuit. Unseeded this year and ranked outside the Top 250, Wawrinka will face British No. 2 and wild card entrant Cameron Norrie in the first round. Fifth seed Sam Querrey will also face a British wild card, Jay Clarke, in the first round.
Defending champion Feliciano Lopez faces a stern test in the opening round against David Goffin. The Belgian has won all three of their previous meetings and will face Lopez for the first time on grass. The winner is likely to face Stuttgart finalist and 2016 Queen’s finalist, Milos Raonic. Raonic will face Indian No. 1 Yuki Bhambri in his opening round. Raonic is tied with Goffin 2-2 and trails 3-4 against Lopez.
Stuttgart semi-finalist Nick Kyrgios will face five-time Queen’s champion Andy Murray in the first round. Murray played his last professional match on 3rd July 2017 and will face Kyrgios for the sixth time. Kyrgios retired last year mid-match after losing the first set to Donald Young. Murray has dominated their rivalry 5-0 but the Australian will be favoured to break his duck against the Brit. The victor will face the winner of Kyle Edmund or Ryan Harrison in the second round. Harrison won their lone meeting in 2017 at Atlanta in three sets.
Bottom Half: Dimitrov, Sock, Anderson, Berdych, Djokovic
2014 Queen’s Club champion Grigor Dimitrov will face Damir Dzumhur in the first round. Dimitrov will be aiming fora third consecutive win against Dzumhur. Novak Djokovic enters the tournament as a wild card making it his fifth appearance at Queen’s. Djokovic, a 2008 finalist at this event will face a qualifier in the first round and might face Grigor Dimitrov in the next round.
Eighth seed Tomas Berdych will face a qualifier in the first round followed by Dan Evans or Adrian Mannarino in the second. Jack Sock makes his maiden appearance at the Fever Tree Championships and will face Daniil Medvedev in the first round. The winner will face Jeremy Chardy or a qualifier in the second round.
Jared Donaldson and Frances Tiafoe will play against each other for the first time in an all-American clash in the opening round. The winner will face third seed Kevin Anderson in the second round if the South African can get past Leonard Mayer in his opening round match. A finalist here in 2015, Anderson had a disappointing grass season last year, losing in the second and fourth round at Eastbourne and Wimbledon respectively.
Five former champions of the Queen’s Club Championships are in the mix for yet another go at the title and 500 ranking points. While Murray and Stan put their fitness to test, Novak Djokovic will hope to upgrade his Roland Garros form to be fit as a fiddle for Wimbledon.