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AEGON Champs: Lopez strolls, Sam strikes back

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Originally published on: 09/06/10 19:16

Thankyou Querrey much

Sam Querrey wanted nothing more than to return home after his shock first round defeat to fellow American and world No.70 Robby Ginepri at Roland Garros. So much so, he apologised to partner John Isner, withdrew from the doubles, and jetted back to the US for a break. “Burnt out” after a jam-packed clay swing, the 22-year-old admitted: “I just didn’t enjoy myself on court” after his second consecutive first round exit at a Grand Slam. Faced with the challenge of Ginepri again in front of a far more modest crowd in West London, Querrey was back in brutal form, hammering down the aces and crushing back inch-perfect passing shots.

“It took a couple of days to get over the feelings from Paris,” he said after breaking Ginepri twice for a 7-6, 6-2 triumph. “For six days, I just hung out with my friends, went to the lakers game, hung out at the beach, just hung around kinda. It was nice. Not until the fifth or six day did I even pick up a racket, so I just reassured myself that I needed a little break.”

And even if it weren’t for his brief spell without racket in hand, the rejuvenated Querrey would never have allowed Ginepri another victory in their third tour meeting at Queens…

“I can’t lose to the same guy three times in a row,” he grinned.

Grass ain’t for cows…

…it’s for champions. Still wearing the blue and green shirt (disappointingly not still caked in red clay) that took him to the French Open title on Sunday, the newly re-crowned world no.1 defeated Brazil’s Marcos Daniel for his 23rd consecutive match win.

Chuffed with both his serve and return (“that’s the most difficult thing for me”), Nadal’s 6-2 6-2 triumph took just 53 minutes despite being only his first match on grass since he lifted the Wimbledon title in 2008.

Novak Djokivic, who lost to Nadal in the 2008 final at Queens, launched his campaign in similarly comprehensive fashion with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Italian Paolo Lorenzi.

Out with a whimper…

“Federer-esque” this, “reminds me of Roger” that. The flattering comparisons keep on coming for handy Bulgarian teenager Grigor Dimitrov. No doubt a talented teen, he teams a smooth serve with an impressive forehand, not to mention an elegant and suspiciously familiar single-handed backhand (not mine, I might add). But we can hand out compliments until the cows come home, there has to come a point when you stop talkin’ the talk and start..well, y’know… winning. And while he may have earned a deserved place in round two at the expense of Britain’s Alex Bogdanovic, the 19-year-old Bulgarian took a harsh reality check from Feliciano Lopez on another rain-hit day at Queens.

The pair managed just four games before an hour-and-twenty-minute-long downpour threw Dimitrov off his game. When the clouds dispersed and a flicker of sunlight made its mark on centre court, Lopez broke to love immediately – with a little help from the inexperienced youngster, who decided against challenging a sweet backhand down the line at 0-30 that replays showed had clipped the line. The Bulgarian limply found the net with the follow up to hand over the break and the Spaniard was away, winning the remaining three games of the set on the bounce.

Dimitrov dug deep to avoid another break at 3-3 in the second, but threw away his serve two games later, wildly double faulting on break point to hand Lopez the chance to serve out the match at 5-4, which, after finding himself 0-40 down, he eventually did.

You can praise, oogle and drool over those classy groundstrokes all you like, Dimitrov is certainly no Federer in the tactical or mental department. Greatness takes time to evolve of course, but it’d be unfair to write him off just yet, Dimitrov is undoubtedly blessed with a pretty special talent. Then again, we once said the same about Alex Bogdanovic…

Good day for: Mardy Fish. After his straight sets victory over Andy Murray in Miami, Fish was at it again at Queens – though this time in the doubles competition. He and partner Mark Knowles defeated the Murray brothers 6-3 6-3, and with that little psychological boost under his belt, the American will get another shot at the Scot in their third round singles clash tomorrow.

Bad day for: The electronic scoreboards, which took a pretty erratic approach to today’s play on several courts. At times mind-boggling, mostly just annoying.

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