Final previews and picks: Gasquet vs. Lopez, Bautista Agut vs. Becker

Finals of the pre-Wimbledon tournaments will be held on Saturday. In Eastbourne, Richard Gasquet is going up against Feliciano Lopez. In ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Roberto Bautista Agut is battling Benjamin Becker for the title.

Eastbourne: (1) Richard Gasquet vs. (3) Feliciano Lopez

Gasquet and Lopez will be going head-to-head for the sixth time in their careers when they collide in the final of the Aegon International on Saturday. All five previous meetings have gone Nadal’s way, but they have never faced each other on grass and their last encounter came more than four years ago. Gasquet has scored wins over Lopez in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2010 with four of his victories coming on hard courts and one taking place on clay.

Grass could give Lopez his best chance even though Gasquet is more than capable on the slick stuff. The 32-year-old Spaniard is the defending champion of this Eastbourne event and he finished runner-up just last week on the grass courts of Queen’s Club. Gasquet finally appears to be healthy after missing almost all of the clay-court swing due to a back injury. The 14th-ranked Frenchman returned to win two matches at the French Open, lost his opener in Halle, and beat Bernard Tomic, Martin Klizan, and Denis Istomin to reach this final. Lopez has taken out Tobias Kamke, Jeremy Chardy, and Sam Querrey. The third seed’s low backhand slice should be able to neutralize Gasquet’s more powerful backhand and the world No. 14 may not be quite 100 percent even though he is rounding into form in time for Wimbledon.

Pick: Lopez in 3

‘s-Hertogenbosch: Benjamin Becker vs. (3) Roberto Bautista Agut

Becker’s only career title came at this same ‘s-Hertogenbosch tournament in 2009. The 33-year-old German is into his third ATP final five years later (he finished runner-up on the indoor hard courts of Bangkok in 2007). Although the grass-court surface obviously suits him, this has still come out of nowhere and is a considerable surprise. Becker had been just 6-13 at the ATP level prior to this week, but he booked his spot in the final with scalps of Marcel Granollers, Dudi Sela, Vasek Pospisil, and Joao Sousa.

Up next for the world No. 83 is Bautista Agut, whom he has never faced. The 26-year-old Spaniard is in the midst of a breakout year on tour that has him up to 28th in the rankings. Highlights include an Australian Open upset of Juan Martin Del Potro en route to the fourth round. This week’s No. 3 seed also reached the Madrid semifinals and is coming off a third-round showing at the French Open. So far at the Topshelf Open he has dismissed Daniel Gimeno-Traver, Matthew Ebden, Nicolas Mahut, and Jurgen Melzer. On Friday, Bautista Agut finished off Mahut then outlasted Melzer in a third-set tiebreaker. Potential fatigue will give Becker a chance, but Bautista Agut is the better all-court player right now and the underdog would have to serve incredibly well in order to lift the trophy.

Pick: Bautista Agut in 3

9 Comments on Final previews and picks: Gasquet vs. Lopez, Bautista Agut vs. Becker

  1. And Delicious defends his title. I must admit Gasquet has never been the flavour of the month for me. At least he stopped wearing his cap back to front when he came back from his ‘enforced’ break from the circuit.

    I cracked up during the match. The French commies couldn’t decide how to pronounce Eastbourne – they vacillated between Icebourne and Essbourne. lol.

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