Grass Is The Word At Aegon Tournanments

Aegon Championships 2010
By Hiland Doolittle, June 7th, 2010
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

French Open Champion and clay court genius Rafa Nadal will bring his new number one world ranking to the grass courts of London for the AEGON Championships at the Queens Club. At the midway point of the 2010 season, Nadal has clearly proven his superiority on clay. Now, the 24-year will lead a strong international field that is composed of some accomplished grass court players, several returning champions and a host of Brits looking to defend their favored turf.

Top seeded Nadal, who won here in 2008, will receive strong challenges from the likes of 2nd seed Novak Djokovic, 3rd seed Andy Murray, 4th seed Andy Roddick, 5th seed Marin Cilic, 6th seed Gael Monfils, 7th seed Sam Querrey and 8th seed Feliciano Lopez.

UK wild cards Jamie Baker will be playing 16th seed Denis Istomin. James Ward and Alex Bogdanovic will be looking for upset wins against American Robby Ginepri, who had great success in Paris, and 19-year old Bulgarian star-of-the-future Grigor Domitrov respectiively.

Andy Murray, the defending champion, and Andy Roddick a two-time Queen’s Club champion are pleased to be away form the clay. Both players prefer the speed of the grass court and hope it will slow down Nadal who has won 21 consecutive matches.

Murray’s 7-5, 6-4 triumph over James Blake ended England’s 71-year wait for a homegrown champion at the Queen’s Club.

Roddick explained his experience, “I feel like my game automatically translates well to that surface. My chip stays down, my backhand goes through the court, a little bit, obviously my serve gets a little bit better.” Roddick used the event to tune up for a strong run at Wimbledon last year. The American played and lost to Roger Federer in one of the more memorable Wimbledon finals ever. Roddick has won the AEGON in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

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2nd seeded Djokovic was the runnerup to Nadal in 2008. The lanky Serb is looking to rebound from his 5 set disappointing loss to Jurgen Melzer in the quarters at Roland Garros.

Li Na Top Seed At The AEGON Classic

Li Na of China

Li Na of China

Top seed Li Na is looking to rebound from a disappointing clay season. Like second seed Maria Sharapova, Li’s game is better suited for the Birmingham grass. Sharapova has had great success here. As a 17-year old, she won the 2004 event and then followed up with a win in 2005. She was a runnerup in 2003 and then in 2007 to Jalena Jankovic. Perhaps 2004 is her most memorable showing because she followed the championship with a convincing Wimbledon championship, her first major.

Li reached the finals last year but was upset by Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova, who is 10th seeded this season. Young Yanina Wickmayer will have her big game unleashed on grass and holds the number three seed, while Aravane Rezai, who had a solid clay court season and won in Madrid will be the four seed.

The players may need a few games to fully understand the different strategy and pace that grass puts into the equation. By week’s end, the fittest will survive. We like Wickmayer and Rezai to meet in the finals and Rezai to take the title over the towering Belgian.

In the men’s draw, Murray will not defend but Djokovic is due. The Serb overcomes Nadal to put an end to the winning streak.


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