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Italian Open WTA, Rome
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Estoril Open ATP, Portugal
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Serbia Open ATP, Belgrade
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Photo Credit: Serbia Open.rs

(May 9, 2010) American men are supposed to be as comfortable on clay as long jumpers landing in a swamp.

Don't tell that to Sam Querrey.

Facing friend and doubles partner John Isner, the 22nd-ranked Querrey spent the second set in denial then broke through to capture his second championship of the season.

Querrey denied a match point with Isner serving at 5-4 in the second set and battled back to earn a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 victory to capture the Serbia Open title on the red clay of Belgrade in one hour, 55 minutes.

"I feel great," Querrey said. "It would feel better if I didn’t have to beat my buddy out there and it was someone else. But it’s still exciting."

The 22-year-old Californian became the first American man to win a clay-court title since Mardy Fish won Houston in 2006 and the first American man to win a clay-court championship on European soil since Andy Roddick won St. Poelten seven years ago.


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Contesting his third final of the season, Querrey joins Rafael Nadal, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Fernado Verdasco, Marin Cilic, who lost in the Munich final to Mikhail Youzhny today, and Roddick as the sixth man to win two titles this year.

Doubles partners and Davis Cup teammates Isner and Querrey played on the red clay of Belgrade in the United States' 3-2 Davis Cup loss to Serbia in February and reached the Rome doubles final last weekend losing to teammates Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.

The Querrey-Isner match marked the first time two men from the USA squared off in a European clay-court final since Jim Courier fought past Agassi in the 1991 French Open final.

Querreyserbiaopen.rs

The second-seeded Isner won 16 of 18 points played on his first serve and did not face a break point in cruising through the first set in 25 minutes.

Continuing to go after his first serve, Isner hit five of his 13 aces in the second set, but connected on just 48 percent of his first serves in the set. Still, Isner served for the title at 5-4 and held match point, but could not convert as he narrowly missed a forehand. Querrey broke and won the tie breaker to level the match.

Striking his serve with greater authority in the final set, Querrey won 20 of 26 points played on his serve, hit five aces and did not face a break point in collecting his fourth career title.

"(The key) was just hanging in there. He’s got the biggest serve in the game so it can be frustrating at times," Querrey said. "But you just have to not let it bother you when you get aced and just walk to the other side to be ready for the next point. It’s a game of inches, as they say, and on match point he missed that forehand by a couple of inches."

Querrey, who was runner-up to Juan Ignacio Chela in the Houston final last month, has beaten Isner in the finals of his two title triumphs this season. They met in the Memphis final in February with Querrey prevailing 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-3 then they joined forces to win the Memphis doubles title. Weeks later, Isner got another shot at Querrey and made the most of it, posting a 7-6(3), 6-4 win on a cool night in Indian Wells.

"I’m playing well on the clay," Isner said. "Today was unfortunate. It’s the second time this year that’s happened; I’ve got to put it behind me."


The 22nd-ranked Querrey cracked eight aces in crushing wild card Filip Krajinovic 6-1, 6-2 in 51 minutes on Saturday night to set up the all-American final with Isner for the second time this season.

  World No. 21 Isner delivered nine aces and did not drop serve in a 7-5, 7-5, win over Stanislas Wawrinka.

The fourth-seeded Swiss was coming off a 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-6(6) victory over sixth-seeded Serbian Viktor Troicki, who joined top-seeded Novak Djokovic and Krajinovic as one of three Serbs in the last eight. Djokovic retired from his quarterfinal against Krajinovic due to illness caused by allergies.



 

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