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Saturday at Queen's

Big win
Marin Cilic.
Grass has not always been the happiest of hunting grounds for the long-limbed Croatian, but, on his sixth appearance at the AEGON Championships, he has been rewarded with a place in the final. On the face of it Cilic’s game is perfect for grass - big serve and threatening groundstrokes - but he has struggled to control it in the past. It was his consistency in very windy conditions that earned up a topsy turvy three-set win over Sam Querrey. 

A for effort
Sam Querrey. The American was described as looking at times like Kevin the teenager during his semi-final against Marin Cilic, dropping the first set and struggling in the wind. But the 2010 champion gathered himself, and gave the crowd a real treat as he kept fighting back, first to take the second set and again to redeem a deficit in the third. In the end, his best tennis deserted him at the crucial juncture. But it was great to see him back on form. 

10 years later...
David Nalbandian is through to a first grass court final since Wimbledon 2002, after unseating Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. 

Remember him
Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian may have fallen foul of David Nalbandian’s experience, but at just 21, he’s got plenty of time. 

Double time
Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic. The all-Serbian duo were in action not just once but twice on semi-finals day at the AEGON Championships, first battling through in two tie-breaks, 7-6(3), 7-6(8) against Belgians Xavier Malisse and Dick Norman, and then returning to take on second seeds Bob and Mike Bryan for a place in the final. It all points to the two Serbs being a very credible threat for the doubles title at the Olympic tennis at Wimbledon. 

Stats attack
Tennis is all about winning the big points, and Marin Cilic certainly did that in his semi-final against 2010 champion Sam Querrey. He faced 13 break points throughout the match, several of them in an 18 minute service game early in the first set. He saved 77% of the break points he faced, and converted 4 of the 5 break point chances he had on the Querrey serve. 

Celebrity spot
Sir David Frost was seated on the members' balcony at The Queen's Club. 

Come back on Sunday for...

The men's singles final
Marin Cilic (CRO) [6] v David Nalbandian (ARG) [10]
The history between these two has been a colourful one. Nalbandian, the world No.39, leads their head-to-head 4-1, a series of meetings that began on carpet in Zagreb in 2006. Meeting in a Davis Cup quarter-final, 17-year-old Cilic, now the world No.25, was given a raw introduction to the ways of the senior world. “It was actually my first live rubber, and he was ranked No.4. He was pretty intimidating,” Cilic said. Nalbandian won that one 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, before winning their next three meetings, all on hard courts. Two in 2010, in Basel and Washington, were decided in straight sets, the third in 2012, in Indian Wells in three sets. But, meeting again in the Davis Cup cauldron last month, this time it was Cilic who prevailed, upsetting the Argentine in five sets on clay in Buenos Aires. “It was a huge win for me,” Cilic said. “I think I found a way to play him and found some spots in his game that I can use as my advantage.” But, as Cilic himself admitted, grass is different, and he will need to have his wits about him this afternoon. He will need to serve at his best, and with variety, to cope with the Argentine’s strong return of serve, and also not get drawn into battles from the baseline, but instead make sure he takes the initiative and gets to the net.

The men's doubles final
Max Mirnyi (BLR) and Daniel Nestor (CAN) [1] v Bob Bryan (USA) and Mike Bryan (USA) [2]
The world No.1s remain in search of their first title on grass together, and, judging by the way they blistered through their semi-final against Eric Butorac and Paul Hanley, dropping just seven games, that remains extremely likely. But, to do so, they’ll have to overcome the world No.2s, the Bryan brothers, who have had all the success on grass that Mirnyi and Nestor have not, although Nestor does have one Wimbledon title to his name. The twins had the trickier test in the semi-finals, a two-tie-break and then match tie-break epic against Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic, and will have to be at their well-oiled, chest-bumping best to stave off the powerful attack of the Beast of Belarus and his slightly more slender partner who prevailed over Bryan and Bryan in straight sets to win the French Open title.The Bryans won their earlier meeting this year, however, in Monte Carlo, and so there is certainly plenty of room for maneouvre. As ever in doubles, especially on grass, it will come down to each of the quartet’s serving ability, and whichever duo combines the best at the net. So, all said and done, it will be a thrilling precursor to what could be to come at The Championships at Wimbledon over the next three weeks. 
 


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