Reigning champion Matteo Berrettini will defend his title on Sunday against Serb Filip Krajinovic after both advanced in the rain-interrupted semi-finals at the Queen’s Club ATP grass-court tournament.
The 10th-ranked Berrettini, the champion in Stuttgart last week, beat Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to show his form with just over a week before the start of Wimbledon.
Berrettini next meets Krajinovic who is bidding for a maiden career title after easing past former Wimbledon runner-up Marin Cilic, a Queen’s winner in 2012 and 2018, 6-3, 6-3.
Berrettini and Krajinovic have met twice before with the Italian winning both on clay including the final in Budapest two years ago.
The 26-year-old has returned strong following three months out, and is targeting his seventh tour-level crown and fourth on grass.
“It was a really tough match,” said Berrettini.
“We stopped for the rain. I had a lot of chances. It was windy again and really tough to play but I definitely think it was the best match of the week, so I am really happy and looking forward to the final.”
Berrettini left his 29th-ranked opponent no chance, despite struggling to convert his break points, managing just three of 15 obtained.
Delayed by an hour due to the showers after the scorching heat of the last few days, the match had to be interrupted again at 6-4, 3-2 and break point to follow in favour of Berrettini, to the great displeasure of his rival.
Despite a 28-minute weather delay, the solid serve, heavy forehand strikes and excellent footwork of the Italian made the difference in one hour thirty minutes.
Krajinovic saved six break points to dispatch seventh seed Cilic in 80 minutes, having not won a match on grass before this week.
“It is an unbelievable feeling,” said the 30-year-old who will bid for his first title after four runner-up finishes.
“I can’t believe I am in the final. Before this tournament I had never won a match on grass.
“I would come here and win just one or maybe two matches, but now I am in the final. It is a dream come true. It is traditional and an honour to play here in front of you guys. It is a dream for me.”
“Let’s see. I am just going and enjoy,” Krajinovic said when looking ahead to the final.
“I have nothing to lose, so let’s see. I will enjoy and see what happens and of course give my best.”
Cilic had 35 wins at The Queen’s Club in his career, the most of any active player, but was unable to find a way past Krajinovic in their first meeting.
Ons Jabeur to face Belinda Bencic in Berlin final
Top seed Ons Jabeur will face Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in the final of Berlin’s WTA grass-court tournament after the Tunisian saw off American teenager Coco Gauff in straight sets on Saturday.
Gauff, 18, who reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open earlier this month, fell in the semi-final as Jabeur earned a 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 victory.
After grinding out a win when the first set went to a tie breaker, Jabeur kept Gauff under pressure, breaking Gauff three times in the second set before converting her second match point.
“I’m very confident on this surface, so I just tried to play my shots, she (Gauff) plays with a lot of power so coming into the match, I knew I had to play my own game,” said Jabeur.
The Tunisian, ranked fourth in the world, became top seed in Berlin after both world number one Iga Swiatek pulled out to rest a shoulder injury ahead of Wimbledon.
“It means a lot to be in the (Berlin) final,” said Jabeur.
“I had no great expectations, I came here as fourth or fifth seed and then ended up first, but grass suits me well.”
Earlier in the day, Bencic came from behind in her semi-final against Maria Sakkari, a match which lasted over three hours in scorching temperatures.
Bencic rallied from losing the hard-fought first set, which lasted 76 minutes, to secure a 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-4 win in temperatures of around 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) in the shade.
Nick Kyrgios hits loses Halle semi-final to Hubert Hurkacz
Nick Kyrgios sent down 30 aces in losing 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4) to Hubert Hurkacz in a dramatic Halle grass court semi-final on Saturday.
The Australian wild card, who has excelled on the surface over the past fortnight and backed up last weekend’s Stuttgart semi-final, was unable to earn victory against the Pole who defeated Roger Federer last year at Wimbledon.
Fifth seed Hurkacz produced 27 aces of his own in a match of more than two hours during which neither man was able to seize any momentum.
Wimbledon semi-finalist Hurkacz, ranked 12th to the 65th of Kyrgios, will aim for his first grass court title on Sunday when he plays Daniil Medvedev.
The world number one dashed the dreams of Germany’s Oscar Otte of winning a title on home soil with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 victory.
Kyrgios was in good spirits after going down to Hurkacz, whose massive serve rivals his own.
“He’s a hell of a player,” the Australian said.
“His serve is incredible. I honestly didn’t feel like I was getting any sort of read on it.
“I was playing well in the last two sets, but I played a shocking tiebreak in the second set. It is what it is, I’m happy with my form this week.”
Kyrgios will play again next week in Mallorca in a final grass-court tune-up before Wimbledon which starts on June 26.
“I might use it as a down week, so I’m not gonna worry too much about the result - but now that I say that, when I get there I will obviously want to continue my form,” he added.
Kyrgios is also pumped for Wimbledon, even if the fortnight will not offer ranking points due to the political standoff between the ATP and the All England Club after the ban on Russian and Belarusian competitors.
“I want to try and pick up as many points as I can (before Wimbledon),” Kyrgios said.
“I still want to do well at Wimbledon, but with no ranking points you don’t feel the pressure as much.”
Medvedev needed 65 minutes to win the opening set, helped as his opponent double-faulted on a set point.
He sealed victory on his first match point after 96 minutes, delivering his eighth ace.
“It was hot (32 Celsius/89.6 Fahrenheit), tough conditions,” said Medvedev.
“Reaching the final is not everything, I want to show my best tennis and win the title.”
He added: “I’m happy hat I managed to raise my level this year on grass. I love playing on grass.”
Medvedev is seeking his first trophy since ending Novak Djokovic’s chances for a calendar Grand Slam last September with victory in the US Open final.