Although the field at the Aegon Championships had four top ten players, none of them survived to Sunday. In the final, two unexpected Americans fought it out for the venerable trophy. Sam Querrey, the sole surviving seed, beat Mardy Fish 7-6, 7-5 to pocket his third ATP title of the year.
In the first all American final at Queen’s Club since 1994, the serve was king. After Fish had no trouble holding serve, Querrey double faulted and made two errors to go down love-40. However, with three aces in the game, Querrey held in his first game. The points were fast and rallies few, neither player got a look at another break point. Subsequent to Querrey maintaining serve despite two double faults, the set went to a tiebreaker. Fish gave Querrey a mini-break to open the breaker by committing an error. Later though, Querrey gifted his opponent a double fault erasing his advantage leading to 3 all. Down the road, Fish netted a neutral backhand to hand Querrey another mini-break for 5-3. With a compendium of mistakes by Fish, Querrey capture the next two points and the set.
Following a love hold to commence the second set, Querrey flubbed two forehands to face 0-30 his second time. Yet, by calling on his strong serve, Querrey bagged the game for 2-1. Fish finally found an entrance. With two mistakes by Querrey and a backhand crosscourt pass for a winner, Fish was rewarded with two break points. This time as Querrey’s forehand down the line sailed long, Fish captured a 3-2 edge. Later, Fish wrapped up his game with an ace to consolidate for 4-2. But, serving for the set, Fish produced a series of unforced errors which cost him the game and leveled the set at 5 all. After Querrey guarded serve to inch ahead 6-5, Fish failed to put the ball in the field of play leading to triple break point. When Fish dumped his volley into the net on the second championship point, Querrey claimed the title.
In the post match interview, Querrey admitted that it’s difficult to battle “a buddy” especially since the two share the same coach. After surrendering his serve two times in a row after serving spectacularly most of the match, Fish conceded “I am not sure what just happened”. Fish stated that knowing the history of the tournament, it was one he had dreamed of winning. Nevertheless, Fish congratulated his friend on the victory. In terms of Wimbledon, Querrey stated “I [will] go out there and do my best”.
Now, Querrey has three title this year on three different surfaces. Querrey’s ranking of 23rd will improve modestly. After this great run, Fish’s ranking, which had dropped to 90, will get a much needed boost.
It was a strange week at the first grass court tune ups. Defending champion Andy Murray was ousted in the third round by Fish. That same day, world number one Rafael Nadal was booted in quarterfinals by Feliciano Lopez. In the third round, four time champion Andy Roddick was stunned by Dudi Sela and Novak Djokovic was bounced by Xavier Malisse. Seeds Gael Monfils and Marin Cilic also lost early on.
In Halle at the Gerry Weber Open, the other grass court event, Lleyton Hewitt halted Roger Federer from obtaining his sixth title. Hewitt defeated Federer 3-6,7-6,6-4 his first victory after 15 consecutive knock downs. With so much disarray, hopefully, it’s not a snap shot of what is to come at Wimbledon.