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Querrey Saves Match Point To Win All-American Final

Belgrade, Serbia

Sam Querrey© Stevanovic/MilosavljevicSam Querrey was presented with the trophy by Novak Djokovic and Marat Safin.

Sam Querrey became the first American since 2003 to win a European clay-court title Sunday when he saved one match point to defeat countryman John Isner 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final of the Serbia Open 2010, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Belgrade.

Querrey’s triumph earned him 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €67,430, while Isner received 150 ranking points and €35,400. The last American to win a clay-court title on European soil was Andy Roddick at St. Poelten in 2003, while Mardy Fish was the last American to win a clay-court title when he lifted the 2006 Houston trophy.

The 22-year-old Querrey has made great strides on clay in 2010. He reached his first ATP World Tour clay-court final last month in Houston (l. to Chela) and, together with Isner, advanced to the doubles final in Rome (l. to Bryan-Bryan).

“I hope I can continue to play well and my next step is to go deep in an [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000 event, hopefully try to win one of those,” said Querrey, who will play at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open next week.

The second-seeded Isner had the chance to win his first ATP World Tour clay-court title when he led 6-3, 5-4 and had advantage on his own serve as he attempted to close out the match. However, Querrey denied his good friend and went on to level the match in the tie-break.

The match was to be decided in an epic ninth game of the third set, which saw Isner surrender a 40/0 lead and fight off four break points before Querrey clinched a 5-4 lead. The younger of the two Americans then confidently served out victory to 15 in one hour and 55 minutes.

“I feel great. 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,” said Querrey. “[The key today] was just hanging in there. He’s got the biggest serve in the game so it can be frustrating at times. 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.”

It is the second time this season that Querrey has defeated his Davis Cup teammate in an ATP World Tour final, having also prevailed when the two clashed in the Memphis title match in February.

The 25-year-old Isner was also contesting his third ATP World Tour final of the season and was bidding for his second title, having captured his maiden trophy in Auckland (d. Clement) in January.

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


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