Summer of Sam: Querrey seals US Open Series
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:41
As far as third round victories at ATP Tour 500 events go, yesterday’s win over Bjorn Phau will probably live long in the memory with Sam Querrey.
The American’s 7-5 6-3 victory at the Pilot Pen Tennis event took him into the quarter-finals of the last hard-court event in the run-up to the US Open – and clinched the 2009 US Open Series title in the process.
The Series ranks players using a points system based on their performance in the 10 US hard-court tournaments that form the warm-up to the US Open, starting in Indianapolis and finishing this week in New Haven.
The 15 points Querrey gains for reaching the last eight take him level with Andy Murray on 145, but the world No.23 pips the Scot by having played more US Open Series matches this year.
“The most pressure I felt all summer was probably today!”
As a result, Querrey will earn anything between $15,000 and $1 million in bonus prize money at the US Open on top of his earnings, depending on how far he progresses at Flushing Meadows – not that any of that phases the 6’6” American.
“The most pressure I felt all summer was probably today, knowing that if I won it, I would win (the series) and if I didn’t it was third place,” he said, before admitting that – while he is proud to have been crowned champion – the top players do not go out of their way to win the Series.
“I don’t think if Federer is 15 points away from winning, or Nadal, I don’t think they’re going to take a wild card into this tournament and say, ‘Hey, if I get to the quarterfinals, I’m going to win that,’” he added. “But I’m going to!”
The omens are good for Querrey following his performances this summer. Since the US Open Series began in 2004, every Series winner had been, or went on to be, No.1 in the world rankings.
The win confirms Murray’s second place in the standings, with Juan Martin del Potro finishing third. All three will receive bonus payments in addition to earnings in New York, with Murray in line to add $500,000 to the $1.6m winner’s cheque should he go one better than last year and claim the US Open.
On the women’s side, nothing is decided yet as Flavia Pennetta continues in her bid to pip Elena Dementieva to top spot. Only a tournament win in New Haven will do for the Italian, while Jelena Jankovic and Marion Bartoli could still finish the Series in second or third place.
Pennetta faces qualifier Magdalena Rybarikova in the quarter-finals, with defending champion and No.2 seed Caroline Wozniacki or Virginie Razzano awaiting the winner in the semis.
Rafael Nadal won the 2008 US Open Series mens event, while Dinara Safina won the womens title. In 2007, Roger Federer clinched the biggest payday in tennis history – $2.4 million – for winning US Open and Series. In 2005, Kim Clijsters also captured both the US Open and US Open Series, winning $2.2 million – the largest purse in womens sports history.