Friday, June 29, 2018

Querrey could face Federer in Wimbledon quarters

Sam Querrey, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2017,
will face Jordan Thompson of Australia in the first
round of this year's tournament. Play begins Mon-
day. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman 
   Sam Querrey will be hard-pressed to match his semifinal showing last year at Wimbledon.
   And Sloane Stephens has a tough opener as she tries to reach the final for the third time in the last four Grand Slam tournaments.
   Querrey, seeded 11th, could face Kevin Anderson, seeded eighth, in the fourth round at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year and nine-time champion Roger Federer, seeded first, in the quarterfinals.
   Stephens, seeded and ranked fourth, will meet 54th-ranked Donna Vekic of Croatia in the first round. Vekic, 5-foot-10 (1.79 meters), won one of her two WTA titles on grass last year at Nottingham.
   The Wimbledon draw was held today, and play will begin on Monday. The women's and men's singles finals are scheduled for July 14-15.
   Querrey, a 30-year-old San Francisco native now based in Las Vegas, is 9-8 against Anderson, 32, and 0-3 against Federer, 36.
   Querrey won the first meeting against Anderson 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the opening round of the 2007 Sacramento Challenger and has lost all eight sets against Federer.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey defeated the 6-foot-8 (1.98-meter) Anderson 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (11), 6-3 in 3 hours, 7 minutes last year at Wimbledon as each player slugged 31 aces. Anderson, however, has won all three encounters since then, including a four-set battle in the quarterfinals of last year's U.S. Open en route to the final.
   Querrey, ranked No. 13, will open against No. 99 Jordan Thompson, a 24-year-old Australian, at Wimbledon. In their only previous meeting, Querrey triumphed 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 on grass in the second round at Queen's Club in London last year.
   Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product now living in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is 1-0 against Vekic with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory on clay in the first round at Strasbourg in 2016.
   Stephens could play No. 7 seed Karolina Pliskova or No. 9 Venus Williams in the quarterfinals and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki or No. 25 Serena Williams in the semis.
   Stephens reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals five years ago for her best performance at the All England Club. She launched her comeback from foot surgery last year at Wimbledon, losing in the first round to compatriot Alison Riske, won the U.S. Open two months later and lost to Simona Halep in the recent French Open after leading by a set and a service break.
   CiCi Bellis, a 19-year-old San Francisco native who was named last year's WTA Newcomer of the Year, is out indefinitely with an arm injury. She reached the Wimbledon doubles quarterfinals last year with Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. Vondrousova turned 19 on Thursday.
   In other Wimbledon men's openers, San Francisco Bay Area product Mackenzie McDonald will face Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in a matchup of diminutive players, and qualifier Bradley Klahn (Stanford, 2009-12) will meet Yuichi Sugita of Japan.
   Berankis and Sugita are both 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters) with 2014 victories in their only previous matches against their first-round opponents.
   The winner of the McDonald-Berankis match could play No. 28 seed Filip Krajinovic of Serbia in the second round and No. 3 Marin Cilic, last year's runner-up to Federer, in the third round. The Klahn-Sugita survivor likely will take on No. 21 seed Kyle Edmund of Great Britain in the second round.
   McDonald, 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 160 pounds (73 kilograms), gained direct entry into a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. The 23-year-old former UCLA standout reached his first ATP quarterfinal two weeks ago on grass at s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, and advanced to the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier in January, losing to third-ranked Grigor Dimitrov 8-6 in the fifth set.
   Klahn, a 27-year-old left-hander from Poway in the San Diego area, is rebounding from his second operation for a herniated disc in his back. Ranked a career-high No. 63 in March 2014, he dropped out of the rankings in February 2016 but has fought back to No. 170.
   Sugita, ranked No. 45 at age 29, lists grass as his favorite surface and has impressive results on it. Last year in Antalya, Turkey, he joined Kei Nishikori as the only Japanese players to win an ATP title since Shuzo Matsuoka in 1992. Sugita also reached the quarterfinals in Halle, Germany, last week, upending third-ranked Dominic Thiem in the second round. Thiem was coming off a runner-up finish to Rafael Nadal in the French Open

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