For the better part of two weeks, Sam Querrey has flown well under the radar. On an outer practice court, he attracts a smattering of fans to watch a mundane workout leading up to his next match. In a year when competitors are given the chance to earn a cool extra million dollars by claiming both a singles and doubles title, Querrey was at one point the final player eligible for the prize. Yet nobody really noticed.
On Stadium 1 at the BNP Paribas Open today, Querrey (Santa Monica) will be two sets away from finally making a blip on the radar. In a quarterfinal match with #32 seed Milos Raonic, Querrey looks to reach his second semifinal of the year (he reached the final at the ATP New York Open in February) and seeks his first tournament win since last August at Los Cabos.
Yet in a fortnight that featured the return of Serena and her inevitable collision with Venus, the fall of Djokovic, the emergence of Fritz, the stress of Simona, and the uncanny dominance of Roger Federer, Everyman Sam Querrey has kept a quiet pace as the only remaining American in the men’s draw.
In his last two events – Florida and Mexico – Querrey was “one and done” with quick exits, bringing into question his preparedness for Indian Wells. With a first round bye last week, the #21 seed premiered in Round 2 with a straight set victory over Mischa Zverev in a drawn out, 95-minute contest. Opposite Yuki Bhambri in the third round, Querrey lost a first set tiebreak but remained steady enough to take down the former Aussie Open junior champion in nearly two and a half hours. And in the third round, he benefitted from a relatively quick 6-3, 6-4 win over Feliciano Lopez of Spain.
All the while, Querrey teamed with Gilles Muller to reach the 3th round of men’s doubles, logging an additional 6+ sets and nearly five extra hours of tennis in the desert. Hardly another early exit for Querrey, who returns to the court today at high noon for a chance at the semifinals.
You’d have to believe that a win today would, at long last, put Querrey in the headlines of the tennis world.
The #7 seeded Bryan Brothers are one win away from a shot at their 115th title together, facing Cuevas/Zeballos in the semifinals on Friday. The twin tandem was challenged in their first match last week, but ultimately dominated a decisive tiebreak. They have since won straight sets throughout, and could potentially face fellow Americans Sock/Isner in what would be a highly entertaining doubles final. Sock/Isner meet the #3 seed Marach/Pavic later today… Tournament Director Tommy Haas, a former world #2 and still active on the ATP Tour, announced his retirement on Thursday night. Haas will remain at the helm of the event moving forward, but closes a 21-year career with 15 career titles and 569 career wins… BNP Paribas has awarded the third annual BNP Paribas Open scholarships to Jade Rios and Jennifer Gomez, both students at Desert Mirage High School in the Coachella Valley. The pair received a $15,000 college grant on Thursday at an event at the school and will be recognized on Saturday during an on-court presentation at the Open.