Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wawrinka beats Querrey in 5 sets at US Open

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
NEW YORK (AP)—Stanislas Wawrinka beat Sam Querrey in five sets to put two Swiss men in a Grand Slam quarterfinals for the first time in the Open era—and keep the Americans out of the U.S. Open quarters for the second straight year. Wawrinka won 7-6 (9), 6-7 (5), 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 on Tuesday to join a countryman whose presence this deep in a major tournament is just assumed: Roger Federer.
Not so for Wawrinka. The 25-year-old had been 0-5 in the round of 16 at Grand Slams. “Roger, he’s always in quarterfinals since many years, so that’s not something different,” Wawrinka said. “But for me, it’s my first time, so it’s something important for my career.”
The U.S. men, meanwhile, had at least one quarterfinalist at their home major each of the first 41 years of the Open era. That changed in 2009, and now it’s happened again. Querrey himself is still searching for his first Grand Slam quarterfinal berth. He had his chances Tuesday.
So did the 25th-seeded Wawrinka, as momentum swung back and forth as quickly as the wind whipped around Arthur Ashe Stadium. The two players traded mistakes and big shots for nearly 4 1/2 hours. No. 20 Querrey wasted three break points in the third game of the final set, which seemed headed to another tiebreaker until Wawrinka made one final push leading 5-4.
Querrey fought off one match point with a lob that was just high enough to force deuce. But after Querrey hit a forehand into the net, Wawrinka made the most of his second chance. This goes down as the worst year for American men in Grand Slam events. They had only one quarterfinalist at the four major tournaments: Andy Roddick at the Australian Open.
In the first two sets, each player went up 3-0 to start a tiebreaker only to go on to lose it. Querrey was fortunate to even be in that second tiebreaker after saving four set points at 4-5. He appeared to be in control in the third set, going up a break, but Wawrinka rallied to break him twice and close out the set.
The youngest man left in the draw, the 22-year-old Querrey was in the midst of a breakthrough season, reaching the fourth round at a second straight Grand Slam. He entered the top 20 in the rankings for the first time in July and had won four titles this year; only No. 1 Rafael Nadal has more.
With Wawrinka upsetting fourth-seeded Andy Murray in the third round, the draw seemed to be opening up for Querrey to make a deep run. His quarter of the bracket didn’t have anybody left seeded in the top 10. In contrast, Wawrinka didn’t come into the Open looking like a future quarterfinalist. A former top-10 player, his ranking had slipped to No. 27, the lowest in more than two years.
But Wawrinka had the experience of a 13-7 record in five-set matches. Querrey was just 1-2. Wawrinka will next face Mikhail Youzhny, who briefly slowed Spain’s march through the U.S. Open bracket.
Article by RACHEL COHEN, AP Sports Writer

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