Joy for Lopez at Queen’s
Originally published on 25/06/17 00:00
The veteran Spaniard saved a match-point before emerging victorious from an outstanding deciding set tiebreak. It was a thrilling climax to a fierce battle and Lopez has finally added his name to the Honours Board at Queen’s Club.
“I cannot believe that I’ve finally won this trophy,” said the champion. “I’ve been waiting so long, 15 or 16 years to be here holding this trophy, and I thought at the end of the tiebreak that after losing a few match-points that I was not going to be able to make it.
“It was so difficult to handle my nerves but finally I was able to do it after waiting so long. I’m very happy today.”
Cilic was magnanimous in defeat. “It was an amazing final and it was definitely high quality,” said the former US Open winner. “I had some chances in the second set to get a break up but Feliciano was playing very well today so a big congratulations to him. He always plays well on grass and he deserves this title.”
Both players served excellently for the duration of the match and there was little to choose between the pair in the opener. An unusually slack service game from Lopez while attempting to stay alive in the first set was all it took for the Croatian to move halfway towards a second Queen’s title.
The Spaniard appeared flustered at the start of the following set and he did well to negotiate a tricky service game and then slowly build momentum. A tiebreak was called into action and Lopez took it convincingly.
It seemed inevitable that a final set shootout would be required and it proved to be a fitting ending to an unpredictable tournament. It was a dramatic affair as both players pushed for the finishing line however it was a loose forehand from Cilic that gave Lopez and his family a moment they won’t forget.
Elsewhere, Roger Federer won his ninth title at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. The 35-year-old thrashed Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-3 to continue his remarkable season of success.
The Swiss said: "I'm on 'Cloud Nine' right now after the ninth win here in Halle. It's a wonderful feeling to win here again because I'm not sure if I'll ever get a chance to win this again, so it's important to enjoy this one.”