Sam Querrey, who described himself earlier in the week as “Debbie Downer” for getting too negative in tight matches, might want to start calling himself “the cat” if for nothing else because Querrey used up all of his “nine lives” and then some in getting out of four back to back three set matches at this week’s Farmers Classic in Los Angeles on his way to repeating as champion with a 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-3 win over top seed Andy Murray. Aside from making his hometown crowd happy, Querrey earned his first ever victory over Murray and against a top five player in his career. Meanwhile for Murray, despite a nice run to the finals, it’s another disappointing loss for the Scot who started out strong but ended up being beaten by his own “cat and mouse” game. And prior to that, doubles specialists the Bryan Brothers, to the delight of many local fans who turned out to watch the native Southern California boys, made good on history.
Murray played to his strengths in the opening set and was content to rally with the American along with spinning and slicing his first serve giving Querrey no pace to work with. It didn’t matter at first as Querrey broke early at 2-1 but Murray broke back and at 5-5, it was Querrey who started to overhit shots to compensate for the lack of pace Murray gave him. Querrey double faulted the first set away and for a moment it seemed like “Debbie Downer” would return again as Querrey grew frustrated trying to stay with Murray in the rallies.
Murray stuck with his trademark style of pushing the ball back while also throwing in drop shots to force Querrey to run to net so Murray could pass him. Querrey faced a match point on his serve but hung with Murray in a long rally that ended with Murray sending a backhand wide. The second set ended in a tiebreak which saw Querrey dominate points to take it 7 points to 2. Querrey entered the final set continuing his attacking play while Murray turned frustration to anger as he pounded his hand on his racquet which drew blood after the Scot netted a forehand. A miscued drop shot from Murray gave Querrey a break of serve at 2-3 and from that point on there was no looking back as Querrey served out the match 6-3.
After the match, Querrey expressed delight not only in repeating as champion at the event but said it felt even more special for doing so against Murray. “Definitely. To beat a top ten guy, I think that’s the highest ranked guy I’ve ever beat and this is the first time that I actually got to defend a title because the Vegas tournament went away so it was a little extra pressure but I’m very proud of myself.”
For Murray, who denied that he was injured during the match but just tired after the long week, the matches he got it were viewed as a positive step in his overall training plans for the U.S. Open. As to his next steps Murray said, “This week it was difficult to be assertive on the court and really go for your shots when you haven’t spent that much time on the practice courts to give you that confidence. I’ll train for three or more days and make sure to hit a lot of balls and get to the gym as much as possible and then head to Toronto.”
Prior to the singles final, doubles history was made today as Bob and Mike Bryan not only won their sixth Farmers Classic title by defeating the team of Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-7(6), 6-2, 10-7, but also made history with their 62nd overall title which gives them the most ever for any men’s doubles team surpassing the record set by the Australian duo of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge. Woodforde was on hand to congratulate the Bryans along with their parents and friends. It was probably Butorac who said it best when he said during his acceptance of the finalist trophy, “The Bryans do so much for doubles. We wouldn’t have jobs without them.” The Bryans now have to set their sights on the ultimate doubles record in the Open Era of 79 titles set by the team of Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver.