Spain’s Lopez wins Queens tennis title at last

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SPANIARD FELICIANO Lopez, who had a match point against Grigor Dimitrov in 2014, finally got his hands on the Aegon Trophy at Queens Club last Sunday.

The world number 32, saved a match point on the way to his 4-6, 7-6 (7-2),7-6 (10-8) win over Marin Cilic.

Rafa Nadal is not the only Spanish tennis player in a rich vein of form at the moment, as Lopez, 35, who lost in the final at Stuttgart earlier in the month, has a 9-1 match winning ratio on grass this Summer.

Lopez will be one to watch at Wimbledon this year, as will Queens runner up Cilic, who didn’t drop a set in the tournament, but still failed to win.

“I cannot believe that I have finally won this trophy,” world number 32 Lopez told BBC Sport.

“I have been waiting for so long, 15 or 16 years, to be here holding this trophy.”

Both men had dropped serve only once on their way through the draw and the final was, predictably, a match of fleeting opportunities that came down to a deciding tie-break.

Lopez saw two match points slip by before taking his third after two hour and 31 minutes.

The grass-court specialist had said before the match how much the tournament means to him, and flew his parents in from Spain on Sunday morning to watch the final.
Cilic, 28, would end the week having lost just that one service game, and none in the final, but after edging the opening set he could not capitalise on an early chance in the second.

Lopez kept pace with Cilic as serve dominated, and got the better of two contrasting tie-breaks.

He raced into a 6-1 lead in the first, levelling at one set all when Cilic found the tramlines, and then held his nerve in a dramatic decider.

Lopez lunged to his left and volleyed into the open court to save the first match point of the tie-break, and then saw Cilic save one with his 22nd ace, and a second – on Lopez’s serve – with a volley.

It was Cilic who finally cracked, hooking a forehand wide and prompting an emotional Lopez to head into the crowd to celebrate with his team and family.

“I thought at the end of the tie-break, after missing match points, that I was not going to be able to make it,” said Lopez.

“It is tough to put the match where I lost to Dimitrov out of my mind. I was serving for the match again and it was difficult to handle my nerves but I managed it.

There were very few unforced errors in the incredibly high-quality match with dreams coming true for Feliciano Lopez who is playing his best tennis at 35.

He won’t want to wake up … until after Wimbledon!

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