LONDON (AP) — The warmup lasted longer than the actual competitive portion of Sam Querrey’s day at Wimbledon.
This is all Querrey wound up needing to play Saturday in the ever-so-brief resumption of a match against 12th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France suspended the night before because of darkness at 6-5 in the fifth set: one game, comprising eight points that took less than 4 ½ minutes.
That was it. Simple as that, Querrey broke Tsonga right away at No. 2 Court, completing a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5 victory that allowed the 24th-seeded American to get to the fourth round at the All England Club for the second consecutive year.
“It’s really the most anticlimactic way to finish such a great match,” Querrey said, “which is a little bit of a bummer.”
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He’ll take it, though, of course.
It’s the first time Querrey, a 29-year-old Californian who played his first Grand Slam tournament in 2006, has made it to the second week at any major two straight years. He was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 2016, a run highlighted by a third-round upset of Novak Djokovic, who at the time was the two-time defending champion.
On Friday night, with fading sunlight making it tough to see the ball, Querrey and Tsonga agreed to halt play after the final set’s 11th game. Centre Court is Wimbledon’s only site with artificial lights used for matches.
Querrey figured it was a disadvantage for Tsonga to have to come out Saturday and serve right away needing to win the game to stay in the match.
“I’d much rather come out today and be in my position, where I can return and kind of free up, as opposed to where he was,” said Querrey, who will face unseeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa on Monday in a matchup of big servers. “I kind of had a little bit of the ‘house money,’ since I was returning first and I kind of had a game to play with, I guess you could say. I think that helped.”
Tsonga concurred, saying about his predicament: “It’s not easy. Not easy, for sure.”
This, then, was the entirety of Saturday’s action: a 129 mph service winner to 15-love, Tsonga’s first double-fault of the set to 15-all, Querrey’s down-the-line backhand passing winner to 15-30, Querrey’s unforced backhand into the net to 30-all, Querrey’s unforced forehand long to 40-30, Querrey’s down-the-line backhand winner to deuce, Tsonga’s backhand volley into the net off a good cross-court backhand by Querrey to match point, and Tsonga’s forehand wide to end it.
“He did three, four good shots, and yeah, that’s it,” said Tsonga, the runner-up at the 2008 Australian Open.
These same two men went through something similar at Wimbledon in 2014, when their second-round match was stopped at 9-all in the fifth set. Tsonga ended up winning that one 14-12.
This time, Tsonga actually collected more total points than Querrey, 152-146.
Other statistics also help demonstrate just how tight this was: Querrey had slightly more winners, 54-52; each man had the exact same number of unforced errors, 29-29, and service breaks, 3-3.
But Querrey won the point that matters the most, the last one.
And even though his workday was rather short, he decided it was long enough. No need for a practice session afterward.
“I warmed up for 20 minutes before the match, (then) went out there. I don’t want to go through the whole routine of starting and stopping again,” Querrey said. “I played enough tennis.”
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