Hampered by a hip injury, the Scot was also victim to 27 Querrey aces Wednesday morning as the Californian advanced to the semifinals against 7th seed Marin Cilic
By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today
There have been times when Wimbledon was played on the Fourth of July, this time it was Uncle Sam stepping in Wednesday morning to celebrate one of the greatest United States tennis victories when 24th seeded Sam Querrey stunned defending champion and No. 1 ranked Andy Murray of Scotland.
It was a quarterfinals match played on centre court before a packed crowd, and no doubt the fan favorite was Murray, or let’s say he had perhaps 90 percent of the crowd support.
Didn’t matter to Querrey. The 29-year-old played one of his finest matches in taking out Murray in five sets — 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-1, 6-1. Most important and most impressive, he served 27 aces. He also remained calm and composed when Murray won set three via a tiebreaker and was a set away from advancing to the expected semifinals.
But Querrey answered back to the disappointment of the Murray faithful by dominating the fourth and fifth sets with 6-1 triumphs. Each time he broke
Murray, he stepped up to quickly fire across aces, some with Murray just gazing at the blazing shots.
In one game of the final set, Querrey sent three straight aces that Murray couldn’t react to. Every time it appeared that Murray was mounting a comeback, Querrey responded and those in his corner were trying to chant USA, USA, USA loud enough.
It was no doubt a splendid performance by the first American to get this far in a major event since Andy Roddick reached the Wimbledon semis in 2009. But Roddick didn’t have to face Murray, who took over the No. 1 ranking after winning Wimbledon last year.
This time, he had no problems in the earlier rounds, but did complaint of an injured right hip that hampered him. He made some references to this in the post-match interview, but also gave Querrey the credit he was due.
“Sam just played a wonderful match,” Murray said. “His serve was consistently good, especially his first serve, and he covered the court very well. He chased down everything from the baseline to the net.”
As for the hip, Murray said it felt okay in the first two sets, but was painful in the third-set tiebreaker and hurt when he got into rallies.
As for Querrey, he often looked like he was smiling, but it was a look of optimism. He hardly ever showed emotion, even after making some remarkable shots. On one in the fourth set, he ended a long rally by blasting a forehand down the line. In the fifth set, he charged to the net to return a soft volley and lob it past Murray.
“I felt confident,” Querrey said. “When I dropped the third-set tiebreaker I still felt that way because either one of us could have won the tiebreaker. In the last two sets, my serve didn’t disappoint me, and I just got stronger as we got to the final points.”
When Murray returned Querrey’s last serve wide, it was all over but you’d never know it by Querrey only flashing a big smile, looking toward the stands, and then coming to the net to greet Murray.
There have been other big wins by USA men through the years, but this was one of the best when you consider Querrey made his furthest advance in a Grand Slam against the crowd favorite, the top-ranked player in the world, and closed like a champion despite the buzzing from the concerned fans.
It was his third five-setter in the championships, and third in a row after opening the first two rounds with wins in three and four sets. He faced four tiebreakers, splitting them. He dictated the points. He hardly missed any first serves.
Hampered by his sore hip, Murray said: “I tried my best right to the end. I gave everything I had, and I’m proud about that, but let’s give credit where credit is due and Sam played a terrific match.”
This was Murray’s first tour-level loss to an American since he was defeated by Alex Bogomolov, Jr., in Miami. He will however remain number one after 2nd seeded Novak Djokovic’s later retirement after elbow problems and the Serb calling it quits down a set and behind 2-0 in the second set against 11th seeded Tomas Berdych, who he had a 25-2 record against.
So it will be Querrey versus 7th seeded Marin Cilic, who had a five-set struggle against 16th seed Gillis Muller before prevailing 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. As for Muller, he had advanced by upsetting 4th seeded Rafael Nadal in the round of 16.
Roger Federer is the 3rd seed, has won Wimbledon seven times, and the 35-year-old from Switzerland now takes on Berdych after taking out 6th seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6. Federer would now be considered the favorite to win yet another championship.
As for Querrey, we can now officially call him a giant killer. A year after shocking then top-seeded Djokovic here, the win over Murray makes him only the fourth man in the Open era to take out the top seed multiple times. He joins Federer, Boris Becker and Kevin Curren.
It would have been nice for an American to win here on the Fourth of July, but on July 12th it was Uncle Sam for the red, white and blue.