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Tennis: ATP Queens Final Preview

Matteo Berrettini's form since returning to the tour has been frightening and he will look to claim a seventh career title when he faces Filip Krajinovic in Sunday's final at the ATP Queens.

The Italian has won eight in a row since recovering from hand surgery and will be looking to join an illustrious list of players featuring the likes of Andy Murray and Jimmy Connors, who have won this competition in back-to-back years.

Berrettini's Queen's win in 2021 served notice but he will need to be sharp if he is to retain his crown against an inspired Krajinovic, who has dropped just two sets on his way to his fifth career final.

What: ATP Queens Final

Where: Queen's Club, London

When: 13:30, Sunday 19th June 2022

How to watch: BBC1

Odds: Berrettini 1/5, Krajinovic 7/2

Berrettini the star attraction

Berrettini struggled to kick on after reaching the last four of the US Open in 2019 but came back to life in 2021. He has reached the quarter-finals or better in Melbourne, Paris and New York over the last 18 months and it is on grass where he has enjoyed his best days.

The Italian made the final at last year's Wimbledon, losing out in four sets to Novak Djokovic. That run was preceded by winning this tournament and he heads into Sunday's final aiming to emulate some of the greats of the game by defending his Queen's crown.

Understandably his main focus will be on going one further at SW19, available at 7/1, but victory here would further cement his reputation as one of the best grasscourt players on the planet.

A hand injury threatened to derail his campaign but he seems to have come back stronger for his three-month break and after winning last week in Stuttgart, he has continued his form in London, dropping just one set on his way to the final.

Saturday's rain-affected 6-4 6-3 win over Botic van de Zandschulp was another impressively efficient performance by the second seed and he will not fear Krajinovic, especially with his heavy forehand in such good working order.

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Serb surprise

That said, others have made that mistake this week and paid the consequences. The Serb's latest victim was the resurgent Marin Cilic, a two-time past champion on the Kensington grass and a player who looks to be trending well for Wimbledon.

Krajinovic dominated the match, breaking the Croat twice in the first set and then once in the second to seal a 6-3 6-3 win in 80 minutes to qualify for his first final of the season.

While Berrettini has become an expert on the grass, his opponent on Sunday had not won a tour-level match on the turf before this week. However, he has shown that he can perform on the surface and his flat and penetrating groundstrokes are sure to give him purchase in the final.

He also has form, beating both Reilly Opelka and Borna Gojo before losing to Felix Auger-Alliassime at the French Open.
Even so, he is 7/2 to cause an upset and has said he is happy to be the clear underdog as it allows him to play without any pressure.

Sunday, though, is by far the biggest match of his career and history is against him.

Berrettini's record will give him confidence

These two have met twice before on the ATP Tour and it is currently 2-0 to Berrettini in their career head-to-head.

Both of those matches were on clay, the Italian triumphing 6-4 6-4 in Belgrade last year. Prior to that, he had come from a set down to beat his 30-year-old opponent 4-6 6-3 6-1 to win the 2019 Hungarian Open.

That result contributes to a 0-4 career finals record for Krajinovic, a somewhat stark contrast to the reigning champion's 6-3, the most recent victory, of course, coming against Murray in Stuttgart.

Truth be told, the Italian looks like he will have too much class, with Krajinovic 3/1 just to win a set and 7/1 to record another straight-sets victory.

Berrettini is 4/7 to win 2-0 and Sunday could mark another step towards a maiden Grand Slam title for the world number 10.

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