After ousting defending champ Lleyton Hewitt in the quarters, veteran Juan Ignacio Chela stopped third seed Sam Querrey in the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship final. Chela prevailed 5-7,6-4,6-3 for his first trophy since 2007 and the fifth of his career, all on clay.
Following a backhand down the line error, Querrey faced break point. By serving and volleying well, Querrey held for 2 all. Then, with a forehand up the line winner, Querrey had his first break point. By provoking a forehand mistake from Chela, Querrey broke for 4-3. Trying to consolidate, Querrey committed a myriad of unforced errors which allowed Chela to level the set at 4 all. Later, when Chela dumped a forehand crosscourt into the net, Querrey had double break point. Sam converted with a forehand volley winner for 6-5. Subsequently, with a love game, Querrey ended the set.
With back to back winners, Chela held a multiple deuce game which included a break point to start the second set. After a similar battle, Querrey guarded serve for 1 all. From then on, Querrey cruised on serve while Chela struggled a bit. When at 3 all Chela committed a backhand error, Querrey arrived at break point. However, a costly forehand mistake effaced Querrey’s chance at the lead. Despite four deuces, Chela kept serve to stay ahead 4-3. Ultimately, Querrey’s inconsistent play caused his frustration to mount. Serving at 4-5 and 40-15, Querrey reached a dropshot by Chela but placed the forehand wide. Then, when Chela surprised him with a forehand return winner, the players were at deuce. After Querrey double faulted on game point, Chela connected on a forehand down the line winner for set point. When Querrey’s forehand landed long, the match was driven to a third set.
Querrey began the final set by breaking Chela. However, with three consecutive errors, Sam stared at triple break point. When Chela converted a forehand crosscourt winner, the set was squared at 1 all. Down double break point his next game, Querrey bailed himself out with his serve. But, after a quick hold by Chela, Querrey was behind again 15-40. Once more, Querrey responded and maintained serve for 3 all. For Sam though, it was a case of going to the well too many times. After two forehand miscues and a double fault, Querrey faced triple break point. By enticing a forehand error from Querrey, Chela pocketed the break for 5-3. Subsequently, on double championship point, Querrey sent a forehand return out of play giving the Argentine the trophy.
Irrespective of the finals, for Querrey, it was a sensational week. The American beat 2009 finalist Wayne Odesnik in the a testy semifinal match to reach his first career final on clay. Odesnik is under investigation for doping violation. Already this year Sam has one title; he won in Memphis. From 25, Querrey’s ranking will rise. Chela will also improve his seating from 82 to the top 50.
Last evening, in the doubles final, Mike & Bob Bryan defeated Stephen Huss and Wesley Moodie for their second second straight title. This was a rematch of the 2005 Wimbledon doubles final whereby the latter team vanquished the Bryan brothers.