ATP Queen’s Club Final Preview: Matteo Berrettini vs Filip Krajinovic

Filip Krajinovic in action at the ATP Queen's Club Championship.
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Sometimes tennis can’t be predicted. This final is the perfect blend of predictable and unpredictable. Berrettini is now 32-6 lifetime on grass, and has not lost on the surface this year, or in nine matches at the ATP Queen’s Club Championships. He should be here. Krajinovic, on the other hand, has just recorded his fourth win ever on grass, and it came against one of the best grass court players of the last decade, Marin Cilic. We can analyse matches, and we can compare capabilities, but sometimes the wind just blows strangely.

Queen’s Club Final Preview: Matteo Berrettini vs Filip Krajinovic

Uphill Battle for the Serb

Having said all that, we still see a huge hurdle to jump for Filip Krajinovic. Berrettini is the most dangerous player on grass outside of Novak Djokovic and maybe Nadal. He is similar to Cilic in his serve and forehand, but he is more careful and less aggressive, and Krajinovic may find that he has to take the offensive more often to win points, rather than letting his opponent unravel and hit errors.

Krajinovic used the drop shot to good effect against Cilic, and we could see a lot more of it in the final. Krajinovic has to do something to get away from that big forehand, and the drop shot is the perfect antidote. He is likely to get more opportunities off of Berrettini’s backhand, which comes in with less pace, and the drop not only forces Berrettini to move, but also makes him play a game of touch at the net. This is neither player’s forte, but a game of touch favors the smaller player.

Berrettini’s Keys to Victory

Berrettini has to avoid the errors that plagued Cilic. Krajinovic can’t have too much grass strategy, or he would have more than four wins, but he can make players beat themselves. Berrettini is not as aggressive as Cilic, and he would do well to hit his forehand with his usual power but keep it away from the lines. He hits hard enough that careful hitting should get the job done, and he shouldn’t have to press into the corners too much. Krajinovic doesn’t have great offensive weaponry to counteract powerful counterpunching.

Of course, Berrettini’s first weapon is his serve, and there he has a distinct advantage. Krajinovic has been out-aced 45-14 in his last three matches. Not much needs to be said about this, except that Krajinovic will have to make a living off of Berrettini’s second serve, and will have to protect his own. I would expect Berrettini to jump on the second serve, though Krajinovic ought to make sure to avoid serving to the forehand side.

The match is Berrettini’s to win, but Krajinovic has been surprising this tournament. And only a week ago we saw a player ranked outside the top 200, with no experience on the ATP tour, lift the trophy in Hertogenbosch over the world #1. Berrettini should take that as a lesson and not let down his guard, and Krajinovic should keep doing whatever got him here.

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