Saturday is semi-finals day in the Cinch Championships at Queen’s Club.
The action starts at 1300 BST and is live on the BBC and Amazon Prime. Both last-four encounters feature a heavy favourite. The double pays 7/10 – the straight-sets double is at 11/5 – but will we get the final the players expect or can an upset be landed?
Here’s our in-depth preview…
2022 Queen’s Club Championship Semi Finals
Botic van de Zandschulp v Matteo Berrettini
These two met at Wimbledon last season with Berrettini progressing in straight sets. A repeat here would be no surprise.
The Italian held serve throughout that 2021 encounter, saving all nine break points he faced as he marched to a 6-4 6-4 7-6 success. He’s been in and out a bit this week, a little fortunate to scrape past Denis Kudla in the last 16. He also hit early trouble against Tommy Paul in Friday’s quarter-final but from 4-1 down he lost only two more games – an effort which should have raised confidence back to pre-tournament levels.
Berrettini arrived in London off the back of a title run in Stuttgart and so fatigue could yet play a part over the weekend, particularly given he has only just returned to action after almost three months on the injured list.
Van de Zandschulp will aim to drag this out but few long rallies should be expected between two good servers.
Even in that Wimbledon clash, van de Zandschulp only lost his serve twice and he served well in victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the last eight, a match he won more comfortably than I expected. He lost serve just once in that one, as he did against Grigor Dimitrov in the previous round. Still, Berrettini is the better player here, without doubt. His serve is better, as is his club forehand, while he also showed off some of his volleying skills against Paul.
He can win this match from the back of the court or at the net, I’d suggest, and he looks a worthy favourite. While I wouldn’t rule out the underdog, the sub-markets look the place to be heading for this contest.
The Dutchman has already played two first-set tie-breaks this week and I’d very much expect his focus to be on holding serve early in this one, building pressure on Berrettini to hold.
Break-point opportunities may well be rare and I think there could be some value in the 15/8 on offer with over 12.5 games in the opening set.
Seven of van de Zandschulp’s last 11 grasscourt matches have now featured a breaker and Berrettini is hardly renowned for this return game – this season he sits a lowly 70th for return games won on the ATP Tour, winning just 14% of them.
Let’s try this for a decent odds-against shot.
Filip Krajinovic v Marin Cilic
Krajinovic helped pocket a 5/1 winner for this column on Friday by coming from behind to beat Ryan Peniston.
The British wild card enjoyed a good week so it was a decent result but this is a serious step up in level for Krajinovic, who hadn’t won a grasscourt match in seven years prior to this week.
In contrast, Cilic started the tournament as the title favourite and, following a slow start in the first round against Liam Broady, in the last couple of rounds we’ve seen why. His service weapon has fired well against Alexander Bublik and Emil Ruusuvuori – the Croatian has faced only three break points across those two matches.
Like Berrettini, Cilic likes to use the serve to set up the forehand winner and that combination will worry Krajinovic in what will be their first career meeting. It’s worth noting some of the service statistics from the Serb’s clash with Peniston.
He had to face no fewer than 14 breakpoints and while he saved 12, that does not bode well for this contest against a higher-calibre opponent. Krajinovic was also aced 11 times by the inexperienced Brit and a bigger number can be expected here.
At 6ft 1in, he’s relatively small in this day and age and Cilic’s bombs – coming down from his 6ft 6in frame – will undoubtedly fly past on many an occasion.
Basically, Cilic holds the greater weapons and can use them to full effect and book his final spot. A 2-0 victory looks fine for those prepared to play at 4/6 but I feel it’s worth looking for a way of siding with the favourite at a bigger price than that.
I’m not tempted to repeat Friday’s successful bet of a first-set tie-break in a Cilic match – that was another 11/4 winner for readers. It’s the same price for this one but I’ve already highlighted the problems Krajinovic has had to deal with on serve, while he hasn’t played a single tie-break so far this week.
The answer is to back Cilic to win under 12.5 games.
Basically, we’re looking at a 6-4 6-3 win (or something like that) which seems perfectly plausible. Krajinovic has had to face 25 break points across his three matches which is a pretty high number on this surface.
In short, Cilic should be able to create chances on his opponent’s serve, while his own delivery may well look after itself given how he’s played in the last couple of rounds.
👉🏼 Get your money back if either of these bets lose
Sign up to Paddy Power and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place up to £30 on the Semi Finals of the Queen’s Club Championship. Here are the possible outcomes:
Or you get your £30 stake back as cash
18+ please gamble responsibly. All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing.
How to watch The Queen’s Club Championship
📅 When is The Queen’s Club Championship? / Saturday, 18th June 2022 from 1pm
🏟 Where is The Queen’s Club Championship? / Queen’s Club (London)
📺 What TV channel is The Queen’s Club Championship? / BBC One