Saturday, February 1, 2014

Querrey's collapse puts U.S. in Davis Cup hole

Sam Querrey blew a big lead and lost to 175th-ranked
James Ward of Great Britain. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   The rap on Sam Querrey long has been that, for all his size and power, he lacks heart and mopes around on the court when things don't go well.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) American did little to dispel that notion Friday in San Diego in the first round of the Davis Cup.
   Querrey was playing in his home state. He was facing a guy ranked No. 175 in the world. He was two games from winning. And he lost.
   James Ward won 10 of the last 11 games to pull out a 1-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory on clay at Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres baseball team, and give Great Britain a 2-0 lead.
   In the opening match, two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray demolished Donald Young 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. Young, a late replacement for injured John Isner, made his Davis Cup debut at 24 years old.
   Ward, in contrast to Querrey, played with inspiration.
   "Look, I love playing for my country," the 26-year-old Ward, who improved to 9-5 in Davis Cup singles, told reporters. "Every time I do it, it obviously brings out something in me that's a bit different, which I didn't see in the first set."
   He said team captain Leon Smith told him to come out of his shell.
   "And I did," said Ward, who lost to fifth-seeded Wayne Odesnik 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 in the first round of the Aptos Challenger last August
   Querrey, a 26-year-old San Francisco native and Sacramento Capitals veteran in World TeamTennis, has plunged from a career-high No. 17 in January 2011 to No. 49. He led Ward 4-2 in the fourth set before collapsing.
   After falling to 4-7 in Davis Cup singles (1-6 on clay), the down-to-earth Querrey put a positive spin on perhaps the most disappointing loss of his eight-year career.
   With typical understatement, Querrey said he was "a little bummed, obviously, that I couldn't help the team. But it's not over. You have to win three points. And if we can bounce back (today) and Bob and Mike (Bryan) win the doubles, then I think our side takes two on Sunday."
   Oh, really?
   The Bryans, who have won a record 15 Grand Slam men's doubles titles, will be favored against the likely pairing of Colin Fleming and Murray (Tennis Channel, noon PST).
   But Querrey is going to beat the sixth-ranked Murray in Sunday's first match after losing to Ward? Murray leads the series 5-1, although he has never played Querrey on clay.
   And then Young is going to handle the pressure of a deciding match and beat the far more experienced Ward in their first career meeting?
   Good luck with all that, United States.
    No. 1 Stanford def. No. 17 Texas 6-1 in Austin, Texas. No. 1 singles: No. 6 Kristie Ahn (S) def. No. 22 Breaunna Addison 6-4, 6-3. Clinching match: At No. 5 singles, 94th-ranked Ellen Tsay def. Pippa Horn 6-1, 6-4. Team records: Stanford 3-0, Texas 3-1. Notes: Tsay clinched the victory for the third consecutive dual match. ... Texas coach Patty Fendick-McCain, 48, faced her alma mater. She was born and raised in Sacramento, won NCAA singles titles in 1996 and 1997, and reached No. 4 in the world in doubles and No. 19 in singles. Fendick-McCain won 25 WTA doubles titles, including the 1991 Australian Open with Mary Joe Fernandez, and three in singles.
   No. 8 Cal def. USF 7-0 in Berkeley. No. 1 singles: No. 26 Anett Schutting def. Thyra Taune 6-0, 6-4. Clinching match: At No. 3, Klara Fabikova def. Andrea Ka 6-4, 6-3. Team records: Cal 3-0, USF 4-1.

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