Queen's champion withdraws from Eastbourne, saving energy for Wimbledon

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Queen's champion withdraws from Eastbourne, saving energy for Wimbledon

The 37-year-old Feliciano Lopez has decided to withdraw from Eastbourne, an expected move after a brilliant run last week at Queen's that leaves a lucky loser Denis Kudla facing Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The Spanish veteran has been struggling to find the form in the previous year and a half or so, scoring only 24 victories since the beginning of 2018 and dropping out from the top-100 for the first time since July 2002, thinking about calling it a career as he has already become the Madrid Masters tournament director.

Champion at Queen's from 2017, Feliciano asked for a wild card and instead of his last appearance in London he went all the way to write history books, winning both singles and doubles title and returning into the top-60 on both lists on Monday, staying competitive two decades after an ATP debut.

Lopez had five days to score eight wins and lift both titles, with five of those coming on Saturday and Sunday in what was the ultimate challenge for the player of his age! Lopez kicked off the campaign on Wednesday, beating Marton Fucsovics 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 and receiving a walkover from Juan Martin del Potro, skipping the second round clash to save the energy for the upcoming encounters.

Thursday was an easy day at the office for him, opening the doubles campaign with the crowd favorite Andy Murray (the first tournament since hip surgery and the Australian Open) and beating the top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 7-6, 6-3.

On Friday, the Spaniard toppled Milos Raonic in the quarter-final of singles 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 in two hours and 16 minutes, with the doubles clash against Daniel Evans and Ken Skupski halted by dark and rescheduled for Saturday.

In another occupied day at Queen's, Lopez overpowered the young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the singles semi-final, returning to the court with Andy to defeat the British pair 6-4, 7-6 and prepare for the semi-final against the 3rd seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers after a short rest.

Lopez and Murray prevailed 7-5, 6-7, 10-7 to advance into the final and things had become serious for the Spaniard, with both singles and doubles finals scheduled for Sunday. After two hours and 49 minutes of titanic battle, Feliciano defeated Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 for the first singles title in two years, leaving the celebration aside and finding every last drop of energy in the tank for the doubles final against Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.

Inspired by the occasion and personal quests, Feliciano Lopez and Andy Murray notched a 7-6, 5-7, 10-5 victory to lift the trophy that meant so much to both players, with the Spaniard becoming the first players with both titles at Queen's since Mark Philippoussis in 1997!

Also, Lopez is the first singles champion with a wild card since Pete Sampras in 1999 and the third player with singles & doubles crown at the same ATP event since 2015, joining the youngsters Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini.

Lopez is the first winner of singles & doubles ATP 500 event since his doubles partner Andy Murray in Tokyo 2011, achieving the 29th singles & doubles title-pack since 2000 and only the seventh in the last nine seasons.