Sam triumphs in straight sets over close friend Fish in London final

LONDON: Sam Querrey was crowned king of Queen’s after defeating fellow American Mardy Fish 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 in the final of the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event yesterday.

Querrey may never reach the heights scaled by compatriots Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, but his name will always be alongside that distinguished group on the list of Queen’s Club champions thanks to this gutsy win.

The 22-year-old seventh seed collected a winners’ cheque worth €79,260 for his efforts this week, but the boost to his confidence heading into Wimbledon could be far more significant.

Querrey has risen to 23rd in the world rankings after an impressive year, with two ATP Tour titles won in Memphis and Belgrade, and is only the second player, after Rafael Nadal, to win three titles this year.

He has now won on clay, hard and grass courts in the last six months and could be a tough test for more established names at Wimbledon.

Although this was only the second meeting between the two, there would be few surprises for either man in the first all-American final at Queen’s since Todd Martin beat Sampras in 1994.

Few players on the ATP Tour are firmer friends than Fish and Querrey, who live close to each other in Santa Monica, often practice together and even share the same coach, South African David Nainkin.

Fish arrived in fine form after dropping just one set and defeating world number four Andy Murray on route to the final.

But the world number 90, who has now lost 11 of his 14 ATP Tour finals, wasted a golden opportunity to take control of the match early on.

He earned three break points on Querrey’s serve, but allowed the 6ft 6in Californian to escape unscathed.

That was the only opportunity either player had to break in a first set dominated by impressive serving but lacking many moments of drama.

What tension there was came in the tie-break as Fish looked to have stolen the momentum when he fought back from 3-0 down, only for Querrey to respond superbly and win the next four points to take the set.

Despite that blow, Fish recovered in the second set to break Querrey at the end of a lengthy rally at 2-2.

That should have been enough for Fish to restore parity in the match, but his nerve cracked when he served for the set.

A pair of woeful forehands presented Querrey with a break back and he took that gift as the sign to go for the kill.

When Fish served to stay in the match at 5-6, Querrey’s attacking intent rattled his opponent enough to induce a series of miscues and it wasn’t long before Querrey was celebrating a famous triumph. – AFP

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