Sam Quer­rey, Jack Sock reach fi­nal of US Men’s Clay Court Cham­pi­onship

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Sam Quer­rey and Jack Sock set up the first all-Amer­i­can fi­nal in a dozen years in the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Cham­pi­onship.

The eighth- seeded Quer­rey dom­i­nated on his crush­ing serve in the rain- in­ter­rupted third set Satur­day to up­set de­fend­ing cham­pion Fer­nando Ver­dasco of Spain 7-5, 2-6, 6-4. Sock knocked off third-seeded Kevin An­der­son of South Africa 7-6 (3), 6-3 to ad­vance to his first ATP World Tour fi­nal.

The last time two U.S. play­ers squared off in the fi­nal, An­dre Agassi beat Andy Rod­dick in 2003. The Quer­rey-Sock match will be the first show­down be­tween two Amer­i­cans any­where in an ATP Tour fi­nal since Mardy Fish topped John Is­ner in At­lanta in July 2011.

The 22-year-old Sock, the Wim­ble­don dou­bles cham­pion, be­gan his break­out run with an up­set victory over sec­ond-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.

“I re­ally en­joy play­ing on the clay,” Sock said. “It gave me a lit­tle more time against such a big server like Kevin and I thought I served well. I was hold­ing pretty com­fort­ably through­out the match un­til the last game, which seems to hap­pen some­times. I was able to scrap out a few points to get the break (for a 4-2 sec­ond-set lead) and that was enough to­day.”

Sock didn’t give An­der­son a chance to break him un­til the fi­nal game, when he was serv­ing for the right to play for the cham­pi­onship. And that wob­ble only slightly de­layed the in­evitable.

An­der­son saved eight break points be­fore fi­nally yield­ing to Sock’s vi­cious fore­hand win­ner.

Sock, ranked 46th in sin­gles, im­proved his match record to 9-2 in 2015, hav­ing only made his sea­son de­but at In­dian Wells last month af­ter un­der­go­ing surgery in De­cem­ber to re­pair a torn pelvic mus­cle.

The 27-year-old Quer­rey won his only clay-court ti­tle in 2010 in Bel­grade.

Quer­rey served a love game to em­phat­i­cally fin­ish off Ver­dasco, a for­mer top-10 player with six ca­reer ATP vic­to­ries. Quer­rey got a quick break in the de­ci­sive set and led 2-1 when bad weather forced the play­ers off the court. Quer­rey re­turned trail­ing love 15 and im­me­di­ately fell be­hind love-30, but he then bat­tled through four deuces to hold and keep his mo­men­tum.

“My next three ser­vice games were rel­a­tively easy,” he said. “I kind of got in a rhythm and made a lot of first serves. I’m tough to beat when I’m do­ing that.”

AP

Sam Quer­rey, of the United States, re­turns a shot to Fer­nando Ver­dasco, of Spain, in a semi­fi­nal match at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Cham­pi­onship on Satur­day, April 11.

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