Lopez leaves his legacy to sink Simon

2013 AEGON International, Feliciano LOPEZ, Gilles SIMON, Men's Singles, News

Feliciano Lopez 2013 championSpanish serve and volleyer Feliciano Lopez saw off former world no6 Gilles Simon 7-6 6-7 6-0 to claim only his third ATP Tour crown.

Both players were competing in their first ever final on grass, but were unable to play to their usual high standard because of the blustery conditions on Centre Court.

Lopez’s style is rare for a Spaniard, utilising slice shots to taking command at the net as well as thundering drives, but the weather did not permit for his full array of dangerous weapons to appear.

After a cagey couple of sets, the third set proved to be disappointing in both terms of quality and the way that Simon surrendered.

Lopez, the world no39, pulled off some impressive results – outfoxing Argentine Juan Monaco, compatriot Fernando Verdasco, Croatian Ivan Dodig and then Simon – to move onto Wimbledon as a winner.

He will face Simon again across the court in his very next competitive match, scheduled for Tuesday’s 1st Round contest at SW19, to make it two meetings in four days having not faced each other for five years.

Lopez, a three-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist, saidgille simon final:

“Grass is my best surface, and to have at least one title on grass is very nice feeling.

“It is important to have some feedback before playing the same guy in two days, even though we know each other very well because almost every week we see each other.

“This match was really special, because it’s great to be in the finals and it was an opportunity to win another ATP event.”

Simon arrived at Devonshire Park having stuttered during the clay court season, following up a 1st Round exit at Monte Carlo in May with hefty defeats to the big guns of Andy Murray and Roger Federer at Madrid and Rome respectively.

He suddenly got his game on track on home soil at the French Open, taking Swiss master Federer to five sets in their 4th Round encounter. This result propelled him into Eastbourne high on confidence.

But the no2 seed almost came unstuck in his first match, requiring two tiebreaks to polish off British wildcard Kyle Edmund in their 2nd Round meeting.Australian ace Bernard Tomic was his next victim followed by a formidable display to easily oust no 7 seed Andreas Seppi, to deny the Italian a third successive Eastbourne final.

Simon’s game fell apart in the third set against Lopez, with neither able to produce their best tennis.

Lopez said:

“I hope that we can play a better match at Wimbledon because today’s weather conditions made it tricky for us both.”

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Lopez roars past Dodig

2013 AEGON International, Feliciano LOPEZ, Ivan DODIG, Men's Singles, News

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Lopez semi-final winFeliciano Lopez sailed past Ivan Dodig 7-6 6-1 to reach his first grass court final.

The Spanish star edged the opening set but ran out an easy winner to avenge his 2011 Barcelona defeat in his only previous meeting with Dodig.

Lopez, a three-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist, appeared comfortable on grass as he eased his way into the final.

And he faces France’s Gilles Simon for a shot at glory, as a warm-up for their showdown on Tuesday at SW19.

Lopez said: “With these conditions it is very difficult, but I’ve only been here once before so I know it is windy because of the sea. But today was the first time this week that it was windy on court.

“I’m very happy to have won my way to the final, it’s good for my confidence – it’s definitely a good feeling for me.

“Whether I win or lose tomorrow, I will take some feedback into my match at Wimbledon on Tuesday. Obviously I would prefer to win here because it is the final and it is not easy to win a tournament.

“Hopefully I can play like this until the end of the season and improve my ranking, it’s a good feeling to be in the final at Eastbourne.”

Lopez faces no2 seed Gilles Simon in Saturday’s final, both players sealing straight set semi-finals successes, for their first meeting in five years.

Simon secured a victory on the indoor hard courts at Rotterdam in 2008, but the pair are due to clash twice in the space of four days when they play again at Wimbledon.

Lopez said, “This is tennis, and sometimes these things can happen. In a way it is good.”

Lopez only needed 65 minutes to sweep aside Dodig to reach his second ATP World Tour final of the season, having finished Memphis runner-up in February.

Fognini slips up to Dodig

2013 AEGON International, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Ivan DODIG, Martin KLIZAN

Ivan Dodig quarter-finalsIvan Dodig marched past Fabio Fognini, to send the hapless Italian crashing out of a tournament that has been full of surprises.

The Croatian was expected to meekly surrender to the no8 seed on Court 1, but in a battle of the big hitters it became an intriguing tie of the highest quality – but over in just under an hour.

With moisture in the air – and on the court – Fognini slipped up and although he produced some divine shots he was outclassed by Dodig.

A very sparse crowd were treated to some terrific baseline battles, but Fognini was clearly frustrated at the lower than usual bounce because of the light drizzle and came close on occasions to smashing his racquet into the grass.

Fognini had also made a slow start in his previous match before bouncing back to see off Slovakian Martin Klizan.

Last time he trailed he altered tactics by approaching the net, totally opposite of his natural instinct to stay back with penetrating deep shots employed as his weapon of choice. But for some reason Fognini stuck with his guns but misfired in the baseline battle.

Fognini preserved his energy to scramble around the court in vain attempts to return thunderous drives and sliced backhands from Dodig, who will be relying on his solid serve in his second semi-final this year when he faces Spaniard Feliciano Lopez for a place in Saturday’s final.

Dodig’s best finish at a grass court event was as runner-up at the 2011Topshelf Open in the Netherlands, but if he can overturn Lopez then will face a golden opportunity to better that result.

Verdasco’s parting shot

2013 AEGON International, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, News, Players

Fernando Verdasco quarter-finalsFernando Verdasco, narrowly defeated by his Spanish team-mate Feliciano Lopez, has blasted the light drizzle and slippery conditions for bowing out of the 2013 AEGON International.

The Spanish star fumed: “I tried my best with the conditions how they were, but the conditions were not right to play even before the match.

“The ball was slippery and I played well, but the conditions were better for him. The court was dangerous for both of us, we had to be careful.

“I noticed that at the end of the first set there was soft rain there, but they just wanted me to play no matter what.

“If I had said that I don’t want to play then I would get fined. I wanted to go from the court because I didn’t feel good. I wasn’t in the situation to say that I’ll go, but I would have liked to have been in the semi-finals.

“His sliced backhand bounced even lower because of the conditions, making it very difficult to attack him.

“But if someone gets hurt then who is responsible? Not the ATP Tour for the conditions of the court. I just kept playing and trying.

“I thought to myself, if I win I win. But if I lose then I’ll just go to Wimbledon because I know I am playing well.”

 

Grass act Lopez enjoys Centre stage

Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, News, Players

Feliciano Lopez quarter-finalsFeliciano Lopez raced into the semi-finals after rolling past Spanish Davis Cup team-mate Fernando Verdasco 6-4 7-6 in Thursday’s opening Centre Court clash – their inaugural encounter on grass.

But it was grass court expert Lopez who outfoxed the former top 10 ace with a clinical display of power tennis and deft volleys to be in first Eastbourne semi-final thanks to a clinical display in their first meeting since 2009.

The world no39 couldn’t be kept at bay, reverting to his aggressive serve and volley style that worked to great effect against baseliner Verdasco and has earn him three Wimbledon quarter-final berths.

It was sweet revenge for Lopez to end a run of three defeats on the bounce to Verdasco, all on hard courts.

Lopez said:

“I’m very happy with my performance and looking forward to tomorrow’s semi-final.”

The left hander had an excellent run at Queen’s last week, winning five matches on the grass courts in London – including three qualifying ties – before bowing out to at runner-up Marin Cilic, the Croatian giant.

Lopez delivered the knockout blows to Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen and Argentine Juan Monaco to set up an all Spanish contest that entertained the Centre Court with such contrasting styles of play and tactics.

Verdasco stunned no6 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine in his opening match and then had few problems in dismissing compatriot Albert Ramos.

But Verdasco was narrowly dispatched by Lopez in a tight contest, losing his service game just once to concede the first set and then edged out 8-6 in what proved to be the decisive tiebreak.

Lopez has yet to drop a set at Devonshire Park, and if he can continue to mix up his shots and play as exquisitely as he has performed all week then not only is he in with a shot of taking the Eastbourne crown but also of making an impact at next week’s Wimbledon.

 

Dark horse Lopez gallops past Monaco

2013 AEGON International, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Juan MONACO, Players
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Feliciano LopezFeliciano Lopez, the obvious dark horse in the draw, dismantled Argentine Juan Monaco in straight sets on Court 1 on Wednesday courtesy of his trademark thunderous serves.
The Spanish star outshone the no4 seed in all departments to secure a quarter-final berth in 70 minutes courtesy of a 6-4 6-4 passage.
The tie was initially an attrition of powerful serves, with both dominating play with booming serves. But Lopez drew first blood match to snatch the opening set.
With the lead Lopez began to mix his tactics, racing to take control at the net and putting away some incredible volleys to unnerve the Argentinian. This worked out to his advantage with two breaks of serve sealing success, initially in the opening game.
But Monaco broke back in the sixth game, but was unable to match the sizzling Lopez who is surely a potential champion. Lopez also defeated Monaco on grass at the 2012 London Olympics.

Another Spaniard made the quarter-finals, Fernando Verdasco losing only four of his first service points in annihilating compatriot Albert Ramos in the straight sets on Wednesday.

The opening match on Court 2 proved to be a disappointment in terms of a contest, with a comprehensive 6-4 6-0 victory.

Klizan’s killer pace leaves Troicki for dead

2013 AEGON International, Feliciano LOPEZ, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Martin KLIZAN, News, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Viktor TROICKI

By Xavier Harley-Rudd

Martin KlizanMartin Klizan had no difficulty in overpowering left-hander Viktor Troicki on Court 3 with a straightforward 6-3 6-2 victory.

Left-hander Klizan, ranked nine places higher than the Serbian no3 in the rankings at world no35, was superior in every department.

His thunderous shots kept Troicki at bay and scampering from corner to corner along the baseline in vain attempts to get the ball back.

Klizan’s flat shots left the ball low to leave Troicki, who won their only previous encounter – last year’s Wimbledon – in a ding-dong five set thriller, chasing the game and unable to carve his way back after his serve was broken.

Feliciano Lopez relied on thundering down 16 aces to book a 2nd Round berth at the expense of tricky Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 7-6 7-6.

The Spaniard had to be on top of his game and never surrender to register a 7-3 success in the first tiebreak and polish off the left-hander with a 7-5 second tiebreak win on Court 1.

Radek Stephanek made short work of dispatching Australian world no39 Marinko Matosevic in straight sets on Court 3.

The veteran Czech ace was expected to be given the runaround by his tenacious nicknamed “Mad Dog”, but Matosevic simply had no bite to lose 6-3 6-2.

 

Kohlschreiber can clinch crown

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Milos RAONIC, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Viktor TROICKI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

aegon international 2013

2013 Men’s Draw

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE SCORES FROM EASTBOURNE

Philipp Kohlschreiber wins on grassMilos Raonic narrowly pipped Gilles Simon to the prestigious top seeding berth, but it is the no3 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber who appears to be the most probable player to win the 2013 AEGON International.

German ace Kohlschreiber made 20102 his breakthrough year, finishing in the world’s top for the first time since turning professional in 2011 and reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals following four opening round defeats in seven seasons at SW19 – on top of a victory on grass at Halle in Germany over Rafael Nadal.

His 2012 win-loss grass record of 9-3 speaks volumes, and being one of the four seeds – all within the world’s top 20 – to be gifted a bye into the 2nd Round should ease his way through the field.

However, this is the strongest ever set of players in the Men’s draw with the no8 seed of Italian Fabio Fognini ranked at world no31.

There are two mouthwatering 1st Round clashes to relish, Bernard Tomic against British wildcard James Ward and Jarkko Nieminen facing Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

bernard tomicTomic, a 2011 Wimbledon semi-finalist sensation as a tenacious teenager, has struggled ever since his father/coach John was involved in an alleged assault with his former practice partner at this year’s Madrid Masters.

The giant Australian fell in the 1st Round at Queen’s last week, which made it four ATP Tour defeats on the bounce. Yet his game is suited to fast surfaces and he has the ability to win this event if his confidence crisis doesn’t continue, which is seemingly due to his father’s coach accreditation ban by the ATP until October’s court hearing in Madrid.

British no2 Ward, who is playing in his fifth successive Eastbourne tournament and reached the 2010 quarter-finals, hovers just outside the world’s top 200 but produces his best on grass and in front of his home crowd.

The Londoner’s wildcard entry at Queen’s resulted in just the one match, beaten in three sets by Croatian Ivan Dodig. And wildcard Ward has a real shot at causing an upset if Tomic’s recent injury and personal circumstances take over from the natural ability that the Australian obviously possesses.

Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen tasted a 2nd Round reversal at Queen’s last week, one victory less than Lopez on the grass court in London.

Nieminen has picked up six wins in eight contests against Lopez, including their only grass court meeting – 2012 Wimbledon.

With totally different styles of play the result is in the balance, Nieminen is a firm favourite to progress and face no4 seed Monaco of Argentina although Lopez

Top Half

(1)Milos Raonic (CAN) bye
Denis Istomin (UZB) vs Ivan Dodig (CRO) [head-to-head1-0]
Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs Martin Klizan (SVK) [1-0]
Grega Zemlja (SLO) vs (8)Fabio Fognini (ITA) [1-2]
(4)Juan Monaco (ARG) bye
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [7-2]
Albert Ramos (ESP) vs (qualifier)James Blake (USA) [1-0]
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs (6)Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) [1-0]

MilosRaonicRaonic is aiming to recover from last week’s reversal to France’s Gael Monfils on grass in Germany. Not only has Monfils since withdrawn injured from Wimbledon, but the giant Canadian arguably produced some of his worse tennis in recent seasons.

With a new coach to guide him, Raonic needs to return to winning ways and utilise his array of weapons on fast surfaces.

If Raonic can dispatch the winner of Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin or Dodig, then he should have few problems in getting past no8 seed Fognini, Slovenian Grega Zemlja, Slovakian Martin Klizan or Serbian Viktor Troicki to book a semi-final berth.

Monaco has a much tougher task to progress. He faces the winner of the Lopez/Nieminen contest, and if successful would take on either Spaniard Albert Ramos, American qualifier James Blake, Spain’s Fernando Verdasco or Ukraine’s Alex Dolgopolov in a battle for a last four place.

Lopez is arguably one of the best grass court players in the draw, with three quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon. And SW19 was a happy hunting ground for the veteran with Monaco one his victims at the 2012 London Olympics.

Bottom Half

(7)Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs (q)Guiliame Rufin (FRA) [1-0]
Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) vs (q)Ryan Harrison (USA) [1-0]
Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Marinko Matosevic (AUS)
(3)Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bye
(5)Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Julien Benneteau (FRA) [1-2]
Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs (WC)James Ward (GBR)
(WC)Kyle Edmund (GBR) vs (q)Kerry de Schepper (FRA)
(2)Gilles Simon (FRA) bye

Simon, dethroned as the top seed by Raonic’s late wildcard entry, should ease into only his second quarter-final at Eastbourne as he has a strong chance against either British wildcard Kyle Edmund or a French qualifier Kerry de Schepper in the 2nd Round.

Kevin Anderson appears to stand in the way of Simon progressing to the semi-final stage. But the South African giant has to fend off France’s experienced Julian Benneteau in the 1st Round with the winner of Tomic/Ward next up.

Andreas Seppi, the only former Devonshire Park champion in the draw, should have few difficulties in reaching the quarter-finals. The Italian has French qualifier Guiliame Rufin in the 1st Round, the winner will play either France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu or American qualifier Ryan Harrison.

Kohlschreiber, a quarter-finalist at last week’s grass court event in Germany, has a 2nd Round clash against Australian Marinko Matosevic or Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek. And Kohlschreiber should soar to the semi-finals with ease.

Semi-Final Prediction
Raonic vs Lopez
Kohlschreiber vs Simon

Seeds

  1. Milos RAONIC (Canada)
  2. Gilles SIMON (France)
  3. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  4. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  5. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  6. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  7. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  8. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)

Simon snatches top billing

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Thomaz BELLUCCI, Viktor TROICKI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2013 entrants and seeds

gilles simon top seed 2013Gilles Simon, the 28-year-old from Nice, is the top seed as the highest ranked of the trio from the world’s top 20 ATP players due compete at the 2103 AEGON International.

Simon, who reached the dizzy heights of world no6 is nicknamed “Gilou” with his most significant success over Rafael Nadal in Madrid five years ago.

Although British fans will probably remember the current world no17 bowing out to Olympic champion Andy Murray at the 2013 Australian Open.

German Phillip Kohlschreiber (world no18) missed out on being seeded no1 and has the perfect all round game that is suited to grass, so is the most probable champion.

Argentinian Juan Monaco (world no20) is the no3 seed but is a clay court expert so is likely to find the adjustment from a gruelling season on a slower surface difficult to adjust to.

In form Kevin Anderson has been given the no4 seeding and the 6 foot 8 inch South African star will be a force to be reckoned with courtesy of his thundering serve and game suited to fast surfaces.

Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, a Devonshire Park regular, takes the no5 slot with former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi of Italy a dangerous opponent as no6 seed.

Seppi’s compatriot Fabio Fognini takes the no7 berth with French ace Julien Benneteau completing the eight seeds.

But the player that the seeds will be aiming to avoid will be Monaco-based Australian Bernard Tomic, who in 2011 became the first teenager since Boris Becker to reach the Men’s Singles semi-finals at Wimbledon.

Tomic stuttered out of the 2012 AEGON International in three sets to Fognini despite being the no4 seed and was booed off the Wimbledon courts following his destruction of the grass with his racquet after tasting defeat.

Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek will be another difficult opponent, and if compatriot Tomas Berdych – a top 10 player – has a shortlived experience at Queen’s in London then he will listen to whether his coach Ivan Ljubicic wants him to warm-up Wimbledon as a Devonshire Park wildcard.

Thomaz Belluci has withdrawn from the tournament, which isn’t the first time that the Brazilian has opted to skip the event.

Men’s Provisional Seeds

Seed

Men

Nation

1

Gilles SIMON  France

2

Phillip KOHLSCHREIBER  Germany

3

Juan MONACO  Argentina

4

Kevin ANDERSON  South Africa

5

Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV  Ukraine

6

Andreas SEPPI  Italy

7

Fabio FOGNINI  Italy

8

Julien BENNETEAU  France

The entrants confirmed are:

  1. Gilles SIMON (France)
  2. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  3. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  4. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  5. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  6. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  7. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)
  8. Julien BENNETEAU (France)
  9. Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
  10. Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
  11. Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
  12. Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
  13. Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
  14. Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
  15. Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
  16. Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
  17. Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
  18. Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)

Men’s entrants

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, EXCLUSIVE, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Men's Singles, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Thomaz BELLUCCI, Viktor TROICKI

2013 entrants – exclusive

Title contender: Gilles Simon

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST ENTRANT NEWS

Men (ATP Tour) // Gilles Simon,the 28-year-old from Nice, is set to be the provisional top seed as the highest ranked of the eight from the world’s top 20 ATP players due compete at the 2103 AEGON International.

Simon, who reached the dizzy heights of world no6 is nicknamed Gilou with his most significant success over Rafael Nadal in Madrid five years ago. Although British fans will probably remember him bowing out to Olympic champion Andy Murray at the 2013 Australian Open.

Argentinian Juan Monaco and former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi of Italy make up the trio of top 20 players.

Yet there are five other aces who will also be vying to become the no1 seed at Eastbourne, namely Phillip Kohlschreiber, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Fabio Fognini, Kevin Anderson, Martin Klizan and Julien Benneteau.

The entrants confirmed are:

  1. Gilles SIMON (France)
  2. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  3. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  4. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  5. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  6. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)
  7. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  8. Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
  9. Julien BENNETEAU (France)
  10. Thomaz BELLUCCI (Brazil)
  11. Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
  12. Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
  13. Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
  14. Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
  15. Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
  16. Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
  17. Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
  18. Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
  19. Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)