Matteo Berrettini’s arrival in the ‘cinch Championship’ final is not a surprise considering he is the defending champion but his opponent, Filip Krajinovic, certainly is.
It is an unbelievable feeling.. It is a dream come true. The tradition of this tournament is amazing, Filip Krajinovic
Berrettini required 90-minutes to defeat the Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4 6-3 for his 19th victory on grass from 20 matches while Krajinovic, on his debut at Queen’s having never previously won a match on the surface, ousted the two-time champion Marin Cilic 6-3 6-3 after just 79-minutes.
For the Italian second seed, it has been a matter of improving match-by-match to maintain his current 9-0 record at Queen’s as he rebuilds his confidence following a three-month layoff with a hand injury which required surgery, in preparation for Wimbledon where he made the final last year.
Even a rain delay late in the third set didn’t upset his focus.
“It was a really tough match. 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 said post-match.
The 30-year-old Krajinovic, one of the sport’s journeymen from Serbia, produced another very solid performance to stop Cilic in straight sets, the 33-yer-old Croatian former word No3, who seemingly has rediscovered his form and appetite for the game during the week.
“It is an unbelievable feeling,” said Krajinovic after adding Cilic to his list of victims which included two Americans, Jenson Brooksby and Sam Querrey, plus Britain’s Ryan Peniston.
“I can’t believe I am in the final,” Krajinovic said. “It is an unbelievable feeling.. It is a dream come true. The tradition of this tournament is amazing, and I have watched so many finals. To be honest, I don’t like to play on grass. Every year I come to Wimbledon and lose in the first round, but now I start to like it!”
Looking ahead to the final, he added: “Berrettini is an unbelievable player, but let’s see. I am happy to lose, honestly (but) I will of course give it my best.”
It will be the third meeting between the pair which have so far gone the Italian’s way but if he is successful, Krajinovic would be collecting the first title of his career having now reached five finals.
“Let’s see. I am just going and enjoy,” he said. “I have nothing to lose, so let’s see. I will enjoy and see what happens.”
Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Britain’s Alfie Hewett in the wheelchair event, as he was beaten by Belgium’s Joachim Gerard 6-7(6) 6-2 6-2 in a thrilling match on Court 5.
“It was a tough match. He didn’t serve so well today and that gave me chances, but I am also happy with the way I played,” Gerard said after his win.
“Playing Alfie in Britain always gives the rest of us extra motivation and this was a good win for me today. Grass is always a tough surface for wheelchair players, but I am happy with this result.”