Queen’s 2nd round: Past winners Murray, Dimitrov and Cilic feature
Coral writers preview the first half of the second round draw at the AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club, London, where the grass is so pure that many have preferred the surface even to Wimbledon.
Thursday’s action will see British hope and three-time champion Andy Murray in action against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, while title holder Grigor Dimitrov faces Gilles Muller and 2012 winner Marin Cilic takes on Viktor Troicki.
The other fixture on the day, meanwhile, sees last year’s runner-up Feliciano Lopez duel with giant John Isner.
Andy Murray v Fernando Verdasco
Title favourite and top seed Murray (5/4) will be confident of snatching back the Queen’s Club title from Dimitrov, and began his campaign with a straight sets victory over Chinese Taipei qualifier Lu Yen-hsun.
While the Scot (1/10 to win) has won 10 of his 12 meetings with Verdasco (11/2) , their only match on grass ended in a five-set thriller. You can back him at a more enticing 3/1 to triumph 2-1 here.
“I’ve had good runs here, I love playing here,” Murray said. “But it’s an extremely strong field this year, stronger I think than any years previously, so I’m going to have to play good tennis if I want to do well this week.”
Gilles Muller v Grigor Dimitrov
This will be the duo’s third head-to-head (they are tied on one win apiece), but it was rising star Dimitrov (10/1 to defend his title) who claimed the spoils when they duelled at Queen’s in 2012.
The Bulgarian (1/3 match favourite) beat the Luxembourgian (9/4) 2-0 that day, and is 10/11 to do so by that scoreline again.
Marin Cilic v Viktor Troicki
US Open champion Cilic (10/1 title shout) enjoys playing here, having won the 2012 tournament in an infamous showdown in which David Nalbandian was defaulted from the match, and reached the final the following year.
The Croat (1/2 for victory) didn’t have it all his way in the first round this time, though, eventually coming through in three sets against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, but will hope to see off Troicki (6/4) too.
Serb Troicki, however, has won their last four meetings, including most recently at the Mercedes Open semis this year. He won 2-1 in Stuttgart, before losing to Rafael Nadal in the final, and is an enticing 7/2 chance to triumph in three sets once more.
John Isner v Feliciano Lopez
American Isner (evens to win) has a history of playing in epic matches, and was apart of the longest ever in history when he beat Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010.
He also faced a lengthy fixture against Lopez (8/11 odds-on favourite) at SW19 in 2014 too, but eventually succumbed to a 6-7 7-6 7-6 7-5 defeat.
Veteran Spaniard Lopez (28/1 title chance) enjoys grass courts the most it seems, having reached further at Wimbledon than any other Grand Slam (the quarters three times) and was a finalist at Queen’s last year. He is 11/4 to beat Isner 2-1.
Betting tip – Troicki beats Cilic 2-1