Photo : @QueensTennis
Blink and you could miss the grass season.
There is so little time for players on the ATP and WTA Tours to build confidence and momentum on the grass before Wimbledon that it’s crucial to take advantage of what few events you have.
With Wimbledon now just a week away, a handful of players are setting themselves apart from the rest of the tours during the short grass swing.
Here’s what you need to know.
In Case You Missed It: Is Auger-Aliassime the ultimate test?
Félix Auger-Aliassime may still be looking for his first final since February, but he can take some solace in who he is losing to.
The Canadian No. 1 reached the quarter-finals of the ATP 500 event in Halle last week, losing to 2021 Wimbledon semi-finalist and the eventual Halle champion Hubert Hurkacz in two tiebreaks.
In each of his last four events, Auger-Aliassime has lost to the eventual champion.
Despite not reaching a final in the lead-up to Wimbledon for the first time since 2018, Auger-Aliassime looked good in his warm-up events and will be among the favourites at the All-England Club.
Bianca Andreescu is shaping up to be one of the most dangerous floaters in the draw at Wimbledon, as she reached the second round at the WTA 500 event in Berlin last week and gave the 2021 runner-up at The Championships, Karolina Pliskova, all she could handle.
Andreescu was three points from a golden serving set as she looked to serve out the match in the third set against Pliskova, but the Czech was able to dig deep and eventually beat the Canadian in a third set tiebreak.
There was almost an all-Canadian doubles final in Berlin, as Andreescu reached the semi-finals with partner Sabine Lisicki, as did Gabriela Dabrowski. However, both Canadians lost their respective semi-finals in straight sets.
Doubles was also the highlight for Denis Shapovalov, who reached the semis with Rohan Bopanna at the Queen’s Club. Shapovalov lost in the first round of the singles to Tommy Paul in three sets.
Rebecca Marino also lost in the first round of her event in Birmingham, although she pushed top seed Jelena Ostapenko to three sets before falling.
Matteo Berrettini went on to win at Queen’s, beating Filip Krajinovic for the title. The Italian is undefeated on grass in 2022, having won titles in consecutive weeks, and is firmly entrenched as the second favourite at Wimbledon.
Hurkacz’s strong week ended with a win over world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in the Halle final. The Pole is 5-0 in his career in ATP Tour finals, while Medvedev has lost in the title match in consecutive weeks.
Both WTA finals this week ended in retirements, with Ons Jabeur and Beatriz Haddad Maia claiming the titles in Berlin and Birmingham when their opponents retired in the final. Like Berrettini, Haddad Maia picked up her second title on grass of the year.
What to Watch: Final prep before Wimbledon
Denis Shapovalov, Bianca Andreescu, and Rebecca Marino are all looking to get a few more matches on grass under their belts before stepping foot on the hallowed lawns of Wimbledon next week.
Shapovalov will look to get off his skid and end his five-match losing streak in Mallorca. After a bye, he will meet Benjamin Bonzi in the second round.
He is the third seed and is in the bottom half of the draw with second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. Daniil Medvedev is the top seed and defending champion.
Andreescu is competing at the WTA 250 event in Bad Homburg and will meet Roland-Garros semi-finalist Martina Trevisan in the first round. The Canadian could face top seed Daria Kasatkina in the quarter-finals.
Two former Wimbledon champions, Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber, are both competing in Bad Homburg.
Marino is already off and running in Eastbourne, having beaten Heather Watson earlier on Monday. She will face 12th seed Camila Giorgi in the second round, with a potential meeting with former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza in round three.
Paula Badosa is the top seed in Eastbourne. Other big names competing at the final WTA 500 event before Wimbledon include Maria Sakkari, Barbora Krejcikova and Karolina Pliskova.
Most of the attention in Eastbourne will be on the doubles, where Serena Williams is returning to the WTA after a nearly year-long absence. The American legend is playing doubles with Ons Jabeur.
The men’s draw in Eastbourne is led by Cameron Norrie and Jannik Sinner.
Under the Radar:
Vasek Pospisil made his return after a nearly-three month layoff last week at an ATP Challenger event in Ilkley, Great Britain. He won his opening match before falling to Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round.
Pospisil was the lone Canadian competing in Wimbledon qualifying this week, but lost in the first round on Monday.
Liam Draxl was the only Canadian to make a final last week, knocking off three seeded players on his way to the final of the M25 event in Wichita. He beat the fourth, eighth and second seeds on his way to the title match, where he lost to Clement Chidekh.
Katherine Sebov had the best result on the ITF women’s tour, reaching the semi-finals of the W60 event in Madrid.
Steven Diez and Alexis Galarneau are both competing on the ATP Challenger Tour this week. There is also a group of eight Canadian men at an ITF event in South Bend, United States.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.