LONDON, June 20, 2019 (by Sharada Rajagopalan)
Anticipation about Thursday’s matches heightened at the Fever-Tree Championships in Queen’s after two rain-affected days wreaked the scheduling apart. However, amid the bright and sunny weather, some of the results came about like unexpected storm clouds.
Top-seed Lives to tell the Tale
Top-seed from Greece, Stefanos Tsitsipas survived France’s Jeremy Chardy in the third round to advance to the quarter-finals. Tsitsipas, who had to play twice after his first round against Briton Kyle Edmund was pushed back on account of rain on Wednesday, defeated Chardy 4-6, 7-6(0), 7-6(4) in two hours and 38 minutes.
— Fever-Tree Championships (@QueensTennis) 20. Juni 2019
Earlier, in his opening round against the Briton, Tsitsipas needed seven match points to move into the next round. With only one match spaced between his first and second, the 20-year-old looked sluggish to start his pre-quarters. Chardy capitalised on Tsitsipas’ initial tiredness to boost himself with a set lead. A second break of Tsitsipas’ serve in the second set offered Chardy the prospect of serving out the match in the 10th game of the set but it was not to be, as Tsitsipas powered his way back into the match. In the tie-break that followed, Tsitsipas served a bagel to Chardy to level the match.
The third set swung between the two players. In somewhat of a similarity with the second set, Tsitsipas broke Chardy’s serve early in the set and tried to serve for the match at 5-4. However, he was broken much like he had done with Chardy in the previous set. However, Chardy’s comebacks were curtailed in the tie-break as Tsitsipas dropped just four points to make his move ahead in the draw.
Tsitispas will play Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals. The eighth-seeded Auger-Aliassime, who played two matches as well, first defeated Bulgarian and former champion Grigor Dimitrov in the first round 6-4, 6-4 in 74 minutes. Later, in the more explosive second-round match, the 18-year-old from Montreal came from a set down to tame Nick Kyrgios 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-5 in two hours and 13 minutes.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 20. Juni 2019
Upsets Rule the Roost
Tsitsipas’ win marked a necessary deviation from the other few stories at the event.
To begin the day, Argentine Diego Schwartzman upset fifth seed and defending champion Marin Cilic of Croatia in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 22 minutes. The win ensured Schwartzman a place in his first quarter-final on grass. More importantly, this was the Argentinian’s only third win on grass (he is a lifetime 3-8 on the surface).
Speaking to the press after the match, Cilic complimented Schwartzman. He said, “Generally, I don’t feel that disappointed, I have to give credit to Diego, he played a great match. He played a really good match.”
Schwartzman plays fourth seed Daniil Medvedev from Russia in the quarters. Medvedev defeated France’s Lucas Pouille 7-6(9), 6-7(5), 6-4 in two hours and 14 minutes.
Moving along with the theme of upsets, another Frenchman, Gilles Simon took out the South African second seed Kevin Anderson in their second-round match. Simon won 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and four minutes. This was Simon’s first win over the World No. 8 in five matches.
Simon will have a French derby against compatriot Nicolas Mahut, who upset the seventh seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland. Mahut won 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(2) in two hours and 28 minutes.
The story of players unable to convert while serving for the match was written by Wawrinka at the outset on the day. The Swiss served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Mahut thwarted him before returning the favour with a break of his own to equal the match. A clutch showing from the Frenchman in the third set tie break handed him the upset to end his time on the court.