Here are the biggest winners and losers from the first week of grass court play in 2014:
Grigor Dimitrov took his fourth career title at The Queen's Club in London, winning a tight final at a tournament for which he has always held a great affinity since being given an unexpected wildcard entry in 2009, also reaching his first career semi-final here two years ago. Dimitrov had a disappointing French Open, losing to Ivo Karlovic in the opening round, but will look forward to Wimbledon now, where he has a good chance of making an impact on a surface which suits his game well. Interestingly, the Bulgarian's four titles have come on the four distinct surfaces on the ATP World Tour - indoor (Stockholm), hard (Acapulco), clay (Bucharest) and grass (Queen's Club).
Roger Federer enjoyed a fairly straightforward week en route to his seventh Halle title and his second title of 2014. After receiving a quarter-final walkover from Yen-Hsun Lu, the Swiss maestro claimed a small bonus in the semi finals as he levelled his losing head to head record with Japanese Kei Nishikori before defeating Alejandro Falla on Sunday, the Colombian contending his second career final. This was Federer's 7th consecutive win over Falla, and interestingly, five of those matches have come on this surface, despite the limited number of weeks of grass court play in the modern calendar. The most memorable of their previous meetings came in the first round of Wimbledon 2010, where the Colombian led by two sets before going out in five.
Dustin Brown may have lost his quarter-final match in a marathon third set tie break to Philipp Kohlschreiber, but the Jamaican-come-German will always remember this week when he retires, after he crushed Rafael Nadal in front of a delighted home crowd in the second round. Brown showed everything good about his game with an audacious display of serving, returning, volleying and lobbing, he now joins Nikolay Davydenko and Chris Guccione as the only active players to hold a winning head to head record against the Spaniard, as this was their first meeting.
Feliciano Lopez loves the grass and took his first grass court title on the British grass of Eastbourne last year. This year, at The Queen's Club, he fell just short of doubling his tally, as he missed match points in the second set before going down in a third set tie break. Still, the three time Wimbledon quarter-finalist can take great encouragement from his performances this week and will now seek to defend his Eastbourne title, having taken impressive wins against Hewitt, Berdych and Stepanek, amongst others, en route to his tenth career final.
Radek Stepanek had to endure a very tricky draw at The Queen's Club, but the Czech veteran reminded everyone what he's still capable of, taking wins over Kukushkin, Tomic, Murray and Anderson before eventually falling to Lopez in the semi finals. Having come within one match of his first final since Washington 2011, Stepanek will take some strong momentum into Wimbledon on what is probably his strongest surface nowadays.
Rafael Nadal was brought crashing back down to Earth in Halle following his ninth French Open final victory at the weekend. The Spaniard was totally dismantled by the unpredictable and explosive game of Dustin Brown in his first grass court match of 2014 and has now lost three consecutive matches on this surface following his Wimbledon defeats to Lukas Rosol and Steve Darcis in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Despite levelling Pete Sampras' tally of 14 grand slam titles last weekend, there are question marks over whether Rafa can avoid a loss in the first week of The Championships for a third year running.
Andy Murray's loss to Radek Stepanek in the third round of Queen's leaves him without a top ten win or a final appearance since last year's historic Wimbledon success as he looks to defend the biggest title of them all later this month. After a semi-final run in Paris on his weakest surface, and a guarantee of being seeded in the top four spots at the All England Club, perhaps there isn't too much to worry about, but the Scot could certainly come into the third grand slam event of the year in more convincing form.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's worrying form continued as he was dumped out of Queen's in straight sets by Marinko Matosevic. After Roland Garros, the popular Frenchman's ranking slipped to 17, his lowest since June 2011, and, sadly, there are very few signs that Tsonga's fortunes are likely to change any time soon as he continues to struggle with concentration and some reckless shot choices.
Milos Raonic went into Halle this year arguably as one of the favourites to win the title, but was dumped out in straight sets by Peter Gojowczyk after failing to find his first serve rhythm. Typically, you'd expect a tall guy with a big serve to prefer faster courts, but the Canadian is yet to record any particularly impressive results on grass, having also lost in the second round of Wimbledon last year. It is beginning to look more like Raonic may prefer clay and slower hard courts, which compensate for his relatively poor movement and allow him to get into more rallies. Time will tell.
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