cinch Championships 2023: FINALS DAY!
What a week it has been here at The Queen’s Club. Blink and you’ll have missed a jam-packed weeks’ worth of fantastic grass court tennis – a wonderful start to the summer!
The hottest day of the week and the stage was set to welcome Carlos Alcaraz and Alex de Minaur who would battle it out for the cinch Championships title. A first for both, but could Alcaraz do it on his debut?
Those who remember their last meeting in 2022 on clay in Barcelona will know that Alcaraz saved not one, but two match points to eventually advance to the Final, and win. De Minaur was not one to be underestimated as he attempts to equal the biggest win of his career going into today’s Final with a 3-20 record vs. Top5 opponents.
Midday saw the start of the day’s action at The Queen’s Club, with the Wheelchair Final on Court One featuring Britain’s Alfie Hewett, again Belgium’s Joachim Gerard. The number one seed, Hewett, looked to settle into his game a little quicker than Gerard and took the first set comfortably 6-4. The crowd were right behind Hewett who looked as though he would continue his form. But, after some fantastic rallies and really tactical play, Joachim Gerard levelled the score with a 6-3 victory in the second set. A deciding set to come and it really was either player’s for the taking! Game for game, no breaks in sight until Gerard stepped up his game to break Hewett and clinch the third and final set 7-5. What a treat for the spectators on Court One this afternoon! Congratulations to Alfie Hewett for his performance this week, and Joachim Gerard for a stunning display to take the Wheelchair Tennis trophy!
Meanwhile, play on Centre Court was underway with the stands packed to the rafters. All eyes on Alcaraz vs. de Minaur – no one was missing this! A game of unforced errors in the first set and, whilst he played some stunning tennis, it was de Minaur who committed the most allowing Alcaraz to capitalise and take the first set 6-4. The Australian would have to pull something of a miracle out of the bag to bring this one back because Alcaraz was putting all his practice to good use, just getting better and better. For a moment in the second set it looked as though it could go either way with both players treating us to some seriously high level tennis – cross court, down the line, lobs, volleys – you name it, they did it! There is reason Alcaraz has been up at the number one spot recently, and he proved exactly why. Minimal unforced errors, a lethal serve and some incredible shot placement saw him dispatch Alex de Minaur in the second set 6-4 again, to claim his first Queen’s title, and on his debut no less. He replicates fellow Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Rafael Nadal’s achievements in lifting our glorious trophy here in West London. Hope to see Alcaraz build on his success here at Queen’s, and de Minaur compete on Queen’s grass again in the future.
No rest for the wicked in the Wheelchair draw, as Gerard and Hewett faced off again, but this time with Reid and Houdet. Perhaps Gerard brought some of the momentum from his earlier victory into the doubles, as he and Stephane Houdet blasted through the first set, 6-1. Despite a second bounce being permitted in the wheelchair event, some rallies hardly saw the ball touch the ground at all with some eye-watering volleys. The British pair were not to be underestimated however, and they completed a wonderful comeback to take the second and third sets 7-5, 10-3. Victory for Hewett in the end! Congratulations to all involved!
Last action of the day came on Centre Court for the doubles final – Dodig & Krajicek vs. Fritz & Lehecka. The former pair, second seed, brought their experience to court claiming victory in the first set, 6-4. Although Fritz and Lehecka had spent time on the singles court this week, the pair summoned a second wind to take the second set to a tie-break and won it 7-5. Into a 10 point tie break we went for the final set, and it was Dodig and Krajicek who served and rallied better of the two pairs to dominate and claim the final action of this year’s cinch Championships, 10-3.
A huge thank you to everyone involved in the cinch Championships, players, spectators, stewards and staff who make this fantastic week possible. We hope to see you all next year for what will be another spectacular cinch Championships.