Querrey Fightback Stuns Murray At Wimbledon
No. 1 fate now in Djokovic's hands
Sam Querrey grew in both confidence and stature on Wednesday to beat World No. 1 and two-time champion Andy Murray, who struggled with a hip injury in the latter stages, on Centre Court at The Championships for a place in his first major semi-final.
When Murray hit two poorly executed drop shots when leading by a set and 4-3 in the second set, Querrey was galvanised into action, often striking deep returns and rushing to the net in a 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1 victory over two hours and 42 minutes.
"It's a really big deal," said Querrey, who is competing in his 42nd Grand Slam championship. "For me, it's my first 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. 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]."
Despite the loss, Murray will remain at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, as a result of Novak Djokovic also making a quarter-final exit on Wednesday.
Watched by tennis royalty, including Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver, Querrey, the American No. 24 seed, who beat Djokovic in the third round last year, will next play seventh-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic, who defeated Rafael Nadal’s conqueror, Luxembourg's No. 16 seed Gilles Muller.
- Murray has lost four straight five-set matches going back to last year’s US Open QFs (l. to Nishikori). He is 23-11 in career five-set matches.
HOW THE MATCH UNFOLDED
Top seed Murray, who had not previously lost to a player ranked as low as No. 28-ranked Querrey in 12 years of competing at the grass-court Grand Slam championship, took a 3-0 lead as his American opponent made a nervous start on Centre Court, unsure of his movement and when to attack the net.
Murray appeared to be in control against the No. 24 seed, when he converted his fourth break point opportunity for a 4-3 lead in the second set, but a lapse in concentration soon let Querrey back into the pair’s ninth meeting.
Two poor drop shots put Murray in danger in the eighth game, and Querrey’s depth of return ensured he was able to attack the net for a forehand volley put-away for the service break. With Murray serving at 4-5, Querrey converted his second set point chance with a backhand crosscourt winner on an approach to the net.
The third set was far from routine for Murray, who broke in the first game and regained the momentum. Two groundstroke errors handed Querrey a way back in the 10th game, when Murray served for the set at 5-4. The tie-break turned when Querrey mis-hit a smash into the net at 1/2 and Murray went on a run of four straight points.
As Murray’s service motion began to fall away, Querrey capitalised to run through the fourth set with three breaks of serve. The American completed the 23-minute set with a fine running crosscourt forehand winner, then maintained the momentum in the decider to race to a 3-0 advantage - a streak of nine straight games. Memories of Murray’s battling five-set wins over Fernando Verdasco en route to the 2013 title and against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last eight in 2016 soon began to fade.
Querrey broke Murray once again to 30 for a 5-1 lead, following a terrific all-court rally, then calmly closed out his 23rd match win of the year with his 27th ace.
"I had chances in the first three sets," said Murray. In the second set, I think I was up 4-3, then got broken twice there. That obviously turned out to be quite an important part of the match. I did manage to win the third. Maybe I could have got the match done in three sets there, had I closed out the second after getting the break. Sam served extremely well at the end of the match, loosened up, was going for his shots. [There was] nothing much I could do.
"The whole tournament I've been a little bit sore. But I tried my best right to the end. I gave everything I had. I'm proud about that. But it's obviously disappointing to lose at Wimbledon. There's obviously an opportunity there. So I'm sad that it's over."