The cinch Championships title will be won on Sunday when the final of the competition takes place at Queens Club as the big Wimbledon warm up comes to a close when Filip Krajinovic takes on Matteo Berrettini for the crown.
Krajinovic will go in search of a first grass court title in this final, while Berrettini will not only be looking to make a successful defence of the title he won last year but he’ll be looking to win in successive weeks and rubber stamp his contender status for Wimbledon.
There has been a lot to like about Filip Krajinovic this week, which is a huge surprise when you consider he had done absolutely nothing of any note on a grass court heading into the week. It might just have been fatigue from good clay campaigns that was the reason for his grass struggles because from what we have seen of him this week there is certainly no theory behind him not being competitive on the grass lawns.
Krajinovic eased past Jenson Brooksby in the first round and then came from a set down to Sam Querrey and Ryan Peniston before destroying Marin Cilic in the semi-final on Saturday. The fact that he has taken care of big servers in the form of Querrey and Cilic, both former champions here, should give him plenty of confidence that he can handle the delivery of his opponent here. We saw the Serbian serve and volleying in the semi-final so he is clearly gaining confidence on grass.
If Krajinovic had no form on a grass court before this week the same certainly can’t be said of Matteo Berrettini, who is now a win away from a third title on grass in the last 12 months. He could join an illustrious list of players to have retained this title if he can win this final and based on the way he won in Stuttgart last week there is every chance of that happening. Win or lose here he has already announced himself as a major player for Wimbledon next week.
Berrettini has served pretty well throughout the week but that goes without saying really. I wouldn’t say he has been at his very best all week but he looked much more assured in his semi-final win over Botic van de Zandschulp and you get the impression that however jaded he is feeling after a heavy two weeks the adrenalin of the occasion will get him through this match and allow his best tennis to thrive. He might need it to however.
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These two have met twice in the career in the past, both of which came on clay. They were both won by Berrettini with the Italian winning in a deciding set in Budapest in 2019 and then in straight sets in Belgrade last year. This will be the first time they have met on a grass court so how much we can read into their past is unknown. This will be the second time they have met in a final though with that clash in Budapest also being a title showdown so perhaps that is something Berrettini can draw on going into this final.
Filip Krajinovic has shown us enough against the likes of Sam Querrey and Marin Cilic that he isn’t going to be overawed by a big server so there is enough to suggest that he can give Matteo Berrettini something to think about at the very least. The variation in the service points of the Serbian in the semi-final against Cilic also highlighted that he is getting used to the nuances of grass court tennis so I think this final could be a lengthy one, as they so often are.
You’d imagine Berrettini will be pretty tough to break in this final with conditions being warmer than they were on Saturday but he is not guaranteed to get into the Krajinovic service games because of the variety he is using. I still expect the Italian to come out on top in this match but he’s plenty short enough whether you are taking him to win the match or to cover a handicap. I think the better bet is over 21.5 games.
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