Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Querrey ousts ailing Murray in Wimbledon quarters

Sam Querrey, playing in the 2014 Sacramento Challenger, today
reached his first Grand Slam semifinal. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Sam Querrey achieved the biggest victory of his career today, ousting top seed and defending champion Andy Murray 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1 at Wimbledon to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal in 42 appearances.
   Murray, who also won Wimbledon in 2013 to end Great Britain's 77-year title drought in men's singles at the All England Club, struggled with a nagging hip injury after leading Querrey by a set and a service break.
   Still, the 24th-seeded Querrey told reporters that his victory is "a really big deal. It's my first (major) semifinal. To beat Andy, to have it be at Wimbledon, was even a little more special. (It was) just an incredible match. I'm just so happy right now.
   "I was a little nervous at first when we got out there," added Querrey, who stunned Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year en route to the quarterfinals. "I had a little bit of a shaky game, my first service game. But then when I broke back in the second set, (I) kind of took a deep breath and settled in a little bit. As the match kept going, I just felt more and more confident, more and more like I belonged (out there).
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey pounded 27 aces, and the 6-foot-3 (1.90-meter) Murray had eight. Both players committed two double faults.
   Querrey won 84 percent of the points on his first serve (62 of 74) to Murray's 73 percent (60 of 82). Querrey had 70 winners and 30 unforced errors vs. Murray's 33 and 19, respectively.
   Although Querrey graduated from Thousand Oaks High School in the Los Angeles area and lives in nearby Santa Monica, he has strong Northern California ties.
   Querrey was born in San Francisco and briefly lived in nearby Santa Rosa before moving to Las Vegas and then Thousand Oaks. In his professional debut just after graduating from high school in 2006, he won the $50,000 Yuba City Challenger.
   Querrey reached the semifinals in the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose in 2010 and the final edition in 2013, and won the doubles title there in 2010 with Mardy Fish.
   Querrey also played part-time for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in 2012 and 2013, and swept the three-week NorCal Challenger swing through Napa, Sacramento and Tiburon in 2014.
   Another San Francisco native, 18-year-old CiCi Bellis, lost today in the women's doubles quarterfinals, and Sacramento native Sam Riffice was eliminated in boys singles and doubles.
Andy Murray, playing at Indian Wells in 2015, struggled with a nagging hip
injury after leading Sam Querrey two sets to one today. Photo by Paul Bauman
   In Friday's men's singles semifinals, Querrey will face another 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) player, No. 7 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia, and No. 3 Roger Federer will meet No. 11 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
  Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, ended the run of Gilles Muller, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. Muller, a 34-year-old left-hander from Luxembourg, had ousted Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.
   Federer, who won the last of his seven Wimbledon singles titles in 2012, eliminated No. 6 seed Milos Raonic, last year's runner-up.
   Berdych led Djokovic, a three-time Wimbledon champion, 7-6 (2), 2-0 when the 30-year-old Serb retired with a right shoulder injury.
   Querrey became the first player since Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 10 years ago to win three consecutive five-set matches at Wimbledon. And he could make it four straight.
   Cilic, 28, is 4-0 against Querrey, 29, but each match (three on grass and one on a hardcourt) has been close. They have met twice at Wimbledon, and both encounters were marathons. Cilic prevailed 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-7 (3), 17-15 in 5 1/2 hours in the third round in 2012 and 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 in the second round in 2009.
   The 2012 clash between Cilic and Querrey is the second-longest by time in Wimbledon history, trailing John Isner's victory over Nicolas Mahut, 70-68 in the fifth set, in 2010. That epic lasted 11 hours, 5 minutes over three days.
   Bellis and 18-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova lost to No. 9 seeds Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan and Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-3, 6-4.
   Riffice fell to Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine of France 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5) in the second round and teamed with Duarte Vale of Portugal in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Americans Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas in the first round.
   Both Bellis and Riffice are now based at the new USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.

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