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Querrey downs Isner for Belgrade title

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Originally published on: 10/05/10 11:15

Sam Querrey clinched his first title on clay and became the first American to do so on European dirt since 2003 after defeating John Isner in the final of the Serbia Open.

The 22-year-old had to save a match point to beat his close friend and regular doubles partner, but eventually matched Andy Roddick’s achievement in St Poelten seven years ago after triumphing 3-6 7-6(4) 6-4 at the ATP 250 tournament in Belgrade.

“I feel great,” enthused the American. “It would feel better if I didn’t have to beat my buddy out there and it was somebody else. But it’s still exciting.”

Second-seeded Isner had the chance to achieve the same feat when he led 6-3, 5-4 on serve, but Querrey hit back to take the second set on a tiebreak before clinching an epic ninth game in the third to put himself in the driving seat in the third.

Isner surrendered a 40-0 advantage, then fought off four break points before Querrey eventually sealed the game and opened up a 5-4 lead, before serving out the match.

Admitting the fine margins between victory and defeat, Querrey believed that the key to his triumph was being able to ‘hang in there’.

“He’s got the biggest serve in the game, so it can be frustrating at times. But you just have to not let it bother you when you get aced and just walk to the other side to be ready for the next point,” he said.

“It’s a game of inches, as they say, and on match point he missed that forehand by a couple of inches.”

Querrey’s third career title and first on clay has left him keen to stamp his mark on the bigger tournaments, and with the clay season climaxing with the Madrid Open and Roland Garros in the coming weeks, the American is in prime form to make a serious challenge.

“I hope I can continue to play well and my next step is to go deep in an [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000 event, hopefully try to win one of those,” Querrey added.

Though equally optimistic about his form on clay, defeated opponent Isner was disappointed to have lost to his Davis Cup teammate in an ATP final for the second time this year, after missing out in Memphis final to boot.

“I’m playing well on the clay,” said the 6ft9 American. “Today was unfortunate. It’s the second time this year that’s happened; I’ve got to put it behind me.”

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