All-American, Big-Hitting Final Set For Eastbourne
Just in time for Wimbledon, American Sam Querrey returned to his first ATP Tour final in 16 months on Friday at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne. The 6'6” American hit 33 aces and saved both break points to beat Italian Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3.
Two years ago, Querrey was a Wimbledon semi-finalist. The big-hitting right-hander beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kevin Anderson and World No. 1 Andy Murray before falling to Marin Cilic in the last four at SW19.
But Querrey, who peaked at a career-high of No. 11 that season, has struggled with his level since, falling to No. 79 in the ATP Rankings this week. An abdominal injury also forced him to miss the past 11 weeks.
“I like playing on grass. It's nice to take three months off and come back and make a final. Usually that doesn't happen, so I'm pretty thrilled,” Querrey said.
Querrey will go for his 11th ATP Tour title and second on grass (2010 Fever-Tree Championships) against countryman Taylor Fritz, who ended his own final drought with a 7-6(8), 6-3 win against third-seeded Brit Kyle Edmund.
Fritz saved all seven break points against the home favourite to reach his first ATP Tour final since February 2016 when, as an 18-year-old wild card, he fell to Japan's Kei Nishikori in Memphis.
“It's the first final I have made in three years. It's been on my mind for a long time,” Fritz said. “It's tough. The second ATP event you make, you play to make the final, and then you lose in the final, so now you want to win a title. You kind of expect it of yourself. So I have been expecting it of myself for three years now.”
Querrey and Fritz have split their four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings (2-2), all on hard court.
“It's never that enjoyable playing another American, but it happens,” Querrey said. “We have all played each other. I've played John Isner and James Blake and Mardy Fish and Steve Johnson a handful of times, so it happens. You've just got to put aside the friendship for a couple of hours and do your best to go out there and try to win.”