ATP Tour: Fever-Tree Championship Selected Quarter-Finals Preview

Tennis Player hits ball

Damien Kayat Previews two of the biggest quarter-finals at the Fever-Tree Championship taking place at Queen's Club in London.

Francois Tiafoe 13/10 | Jeremy Chardy 11/20
This is a quarterfinal of absolute contrasts. 20-year-old Francois Tiafoe has been one of the more exciting players to emerge on the tennis circuit in recent times. The rangy American- the son of Sierra Leone immigrants- has picked up decent victories over Jared Donaldson and Leonardo Mayer thus far. He suffered a first-round defeat to Querrey at Roland Garros but already has achieved so much this year. He won his first ever ATP title at Delray Beach while he also managed to make the final at Estoril, losing to Joao Sousa in the climactic battle. He also had an excellent run to the final 16 at a stacked Miami event, where he picked up victories against Tomas Berdych and Aussie Open semi-finalist Kyle Edmund.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is French journeyman Jeremy Chardy. The 31-year-old has really come out of nowhere to build a fairly solid year. The first sign of progression was his performances in the ultra-competitive “Sunshine Double”. Two consecutive Round of 16 finishes in those deep fields should have rung alarm bells that he was ready to seriously compete. Chardy had an excruciating five-set loss to Herbert in the French Open Second Round- losing 9-7 in the fifth- but he has taken the grass-court season by storm. He won the Surbiton Cup and then made the final at the Rosmalen Championships.

Tiafoe leads the head-to-head 1-0 and is one of the most promising players on the tour. I think you have to take Chardy’s recent grass success with a pinch of salt, especially looking at the quality of those events. Tiafoe at 13/10 looks good value with that booming serve. 

Novak Djokovic 1/11 | Adrian Mannarino 11/2
Three-time Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic enjoyed an embarrassing defeat to Cecchinnato in a French Open Quarterfinal that looked absolutely set up for him. The Serbian should really look at that result as the next step in an encouraging recent run of results that do hint at a complete resurgence. He lost to clay-court demigod Rafa Nadal in a competitive Rome semi-final while he had also reached the last 16 in Monte-Carlo. Djokovic has always been a consummate performer on grass and has enjoyed two devastating victories thus far. He only dropped a combined total of eight games against Millman and the dangerous Dimitrov. So it’s probably fair to assume that the Serbian enjoys his status as the overwhelming favourite here.

Adrian Mannarino is a throwback to the days of McEnroe, a chip and chase style player who doesn’t have any weapon of particular strength. He seemed to be on an upward trajectory last season and started the season in fairly decent fashion with a third Round run at the Aussie Open. But it all seems to have gone a bit pair-shaped for the Frenchman since then. Other than a semi-final in the New York Open, Mannarino has had a dismal season. He actually enjoyed a run of six straight losses after the Barcelona Open. But his style seems to be ideally suited to the slower grass courts that are played on these days. The 2017 Antalya Open finalist has also reached the Wimbledon fourth Round on two occasions.

But for anyone looking for a surprise with the up and down fortunes of Djokovic as a platform, look elsewhere. Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Mannarino 2-0, with both victories coming on the grass-courts of Wimbledon. He has yet to drop a set against Mannarino and his form thus far looks amazing in this event.

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