LONDON, (Reuters) – The top seeds have been scattered but Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey continued the charge of former winners at the Aegon Championships on Thursday as they reached the quarter-finals.
With Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov having already progressed, three former champions are among the last eight at the prestigious pre-Wimbledon grasscourt event at Queen’s Club.
Fourth seed Cilic, winner in 2012, overpowered American teenager Stefan Kozlov 6-0 6-4 while Querrey, who triumphed seven years ago at the west London club, got the better of Australian Jordan Thompson, winning 7-6(3) 3-6 6-3.
Russian Daniil Medvedev beat fellow 21-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis who failed to match the heights he reached when beating third seed Milos Raonic in round one, losing 6-2 6-2.
Medvedev will face 2014 winner Dimitrov on Friday.
Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez continued the form he showed in reaching the Stuttgart grasscourt final last week with a 6-1 7-6(4) defeat of French qualifier Jeremy Chardy and will face Czech Tomas Berdych for a place in the semi-finals.
After the stifling temperatures of the first three days, fresher conditions returned to the west London club — as well as a sense of tranquillity after the shocks which saw Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga all bale out early.
Organisers will at least be pleased that some genuine quality still remains.
Cilic now looks favourite for the title, especially after the clinical way he dispatched 19-year-old Kozlov with his serve and forehand almost unplayable at times.
The former U.S. Open champion romped through the first set in 24 minutes but was given more of a workout in the second.
Kozlov showed some tidy grasscourt skills of his own but never hinted at breaking the Croatian’s serve, which offered up only seven points to the American during the 65-minute contest.
Cilic, who beat John Isner in round one, will now take aim at his third American in a row in the quarter-finals when he takes on unseeded Donald Young.
“Consistency-wise, maybe I’m feeling my best ever,” Cilic, who reached the French Open quarter-finals, said. “I served extremely good today. Controlled most of the rallies.”
Big-serving American Querrey cut short a dream week for Thompson, the man who beat world number one and five-times champion Andy Murray in the first round having scraped into the draw as a lucky loser after falling in qualifying.
Querrey, who caused the big shock at Wimbledon last year when he knocked out defending champion Novak Djokovic, failed to take any of the six break points that came his way in the first set against Thompson but edged the opener in a tiebreak.
Thompson struck back to level the match but Querrey recovered to break decisively in the fourth game of the decider and had enough firepower to claim victory.
“That was a long match for grass,” Querrey, who fired down 15 aces, said on court. “It’s tricky out here, it was windy and Jordan had come off beating Andy so he was confident.”
“It doesn’t get any easier though,” the American said of his next opponent, the dangerous Luxembourg left-hander Gilles Muller who the title last week in Den Bosch.