Mon, 22 Jul 2019

London - Feliciano Lopez is more than twice the age of Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime and he drew on all his experience to come from a set down to win 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-4 in the Queen's semi-finals on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Spaniard and 2017 champion - who has a busy time ahead of him as he has to partner Andy Murray in an unfinished doubles quarter-final - became the oldest ever Queen's finalist in the Open era when he served out the match having seen his 18-year-old opponent save four match points in the previous game.

Lopez, who earlier in the week had to deny match-fixing allegations that surfaced in the Spanish media, stood with his hands on his hips, laughing as if in amazement at reaching what is his third Queen's final.

He will face another unseeded player in 34-year-old Gilles Simon of France in the final.

Simon beat fourth seed Daniil Medvedev earlier on Saturday also in three sets, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-3.

Auger-Aliassime started brightly enough, taking a mini-break in the tie breaker with an exquisite two-handed backhand down the line and wrapped up the set when Lopez fell awkwardly.

However, Lopez fought back in the second against an opponent who has made huge strides this year and is on the cusp of breaking into the top 20.

He saved break points on his own serve in the first game and then became the first player this week to break Auger-Aliassime's serve to go 2-0 up.

Lopez closed out the set without too many problems winning it 6-3.

Auger-Aliassime failed to take the break points he secured in Lopez's first service game of the deciding set, the Spaniard battling back to hold his serve.

It was, however, Auger-Aliassme who cracked as Lopez broke him to lead 3-2 and that was enough to secure the win.

Simon is one victory away from becoming the first French winner of Queen's after coming from a set down to beat a struggling Medvedev.

The Frenchman showed little sign of having played the longest match at Queen's since 1991, a marathon of over three hours in Friday's quarter-final with compatriot Nicolas Mahut.

Medvedev's cause was not helped by problems with his right shoulder and lower back.

Simon will bid to go one better than the last Frenchman to appear in a Queen's final - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - who lost to Andy Murray in 2011.

"It's a difficult tournament to win," he said.

"You see the names of the past champions and you realise how hard it is.

"I would be happy to be the first one and to join this team."

Simon played some stunning tennis and paid scant attention to Medvedev's ailments whle remonstrating with his team sitting in the crowd.

"I think I have more pains than him," a smiling Simon said. "So to answer, you don't pay attention that much."

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