Querrey Battles Back To Beat Thiem At Wimbledon
American now plays Rublev on Thursday
Sam Querrey twice came within a point of trailing two-sets-to-love on No. 2 Court Tuesday afternoon, but was able to keep his nerve for another upset at The Championships.
The American, who returned last week with a run to the Nature Valley International final in Eastbourne (l. to Fritz), saved two set points in the second set en route to a 6-7(6), 7-6(1), 6-3, 6-0 victory over fifth seed Dominic Thiem of Austria in two hours and 29 minutes.
Querrey saved set points at 4-5, 30/40 and Ad Out in the second set, with a backhand error from Thiem and an ace. The 31-year-old, who lost just seven of his first-service points, booked his place in the Wimbledon second round with his 22nd ace, which denied Thiem the 250th match win of his career. The fourth set lasted 20 minutes.
“I have played matches before where I have had six break points [and] didn’t get them,” said Thiem. “The guy has one, gets it, and then, like, ‘Why does that happen?’ That's kind of what it felt like. I feel like from his end maybe he felt like he had those opportunities, those chances, didn't get them.
“Then, especially against a big server like myself, it's a little draining once you lose serve and kind of took the wind out of his sails a little bit.”
Having missed the entire spring European clay-court swing with an abdominal injury, Querrey returned at Devonshire Park on the south coast last week, which was his first ATP Tour event since 13 April at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship.
“I made the semi-finals of Houston, and then I had an abdomen injury,” said Querrey. “So I didn't play for about three months, which was a tough little injury that was just lingering. It's all better now, and last week went really well. My first tournament back in a while. That momentum is kind of still there, and luckily I like playing on grass. So I'm glad after an injury I got to come back and play Eastbourne.”
Victory for Querrey, who reached the 2017 Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Marin Cilic), means he has beaten three players in the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings at the All England Club. He beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the 2016 third round and then No. 1-ranked Andy Murray in the 2017 quarter-finals.
“I think I played pretty well or pretty decent until one set all and 3-4,” said Thiem. “I was a little bit unlucky I think on the set point in the second set. [In the] third set I had another break chance. I think my seventh or eighth at 3-3, which I missed, where I actually had a return pretty good on the racquet, [but] didn't convert it again.
“He converted his first break chance. Of course, that was tough for me. After that, not a lot was working for me… He started the fourth set on fire. Against him, if you're a double break down, it's almost impossible to come back.”
The 25-year-old Thiem, who has contested two Roland Garros finals (l. to Nadal both times), is now 24-10 on the season. He is currently in fourth position in the 2019 ATP Race To London for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held from 10-17 November at The O2 in London.
Another Top 10 player, Fabio Fognini, almost fell to another American in his Wimbledon opener, but ultimately prevailed against Frances Tiafoe 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 after three hours and 23 minutes. Fognini looked poised to clinch the win in the fourth set after securing an early break, but lost four straight games to close the set. He responded with a break to start the fifth set and this time held on to his lead.
Fognini, the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion, broke into the Top 10 earlier this season following his run to the fourth round at Roland Garros. The 32-year-old will look to match his best Wimbledon result (third round in 2010, 2014, 2017-18) when he next meets Marton Fucsovics. The Hungarian advanced with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-2 win over qualifier Dennis Novak.
In other matches, Queen's Club finalist Gilles Simon defeated qualifier Salvatore Caruso 7-6(7), 6-3, 6-2, while Rio Open presented by Claro champion Laslo Djere recorded his first grass-court win by rallying past Guido Andreozzi 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(3), 6-3.