A brilliant Sam Querrey played some inspired tennis to upset the second seed and two-time champion Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-6(3) in the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico on Saturday. The unseeded 29-year-old thus created history as the first ever American winner of this ATP 500 event.
This was the former World No. 1’s second consecutive final after last month’s Australian Open where the Spaniard succumbed to his nemesis Roger Federer in five sets. With this loss, Rafa’s 16-match winning streak over Americans also comes to an end.
Querrey beat three seeds en route to the final
Sam Querrey virtually outplayed Rafa for nearly one and a half sets. Raining aces and hammering forehands winners at will, it was his backhand at the crucial junctures of the match that made all the difference. The way he kept the World No. 6 guessing was another facet of his game that came to his aid a lot in the summit clash.
He finished with 19 aces and grabbed a total of 75 points to Rafa’s meagre 61. All week he had been impeccable and notched wins over fourth seed Dominic Thiem, fifth seed David Goffin and the Novak Djokovic-slayer Nick Kyrgios.
The World No. 40 came out swinging freely while the 14-time Grand Slam champion struggled to find his first serves in the initial stages of the final. As the second seed kept on erring in a pivotal eighth game, Querrey carved out three break points and drew first blood with a brutal crosscourt backhand return winner. That was all he needed to pocket the first set.
Rafa had chances aplenty in the second set. He put pressure in Querrey's first service game of the second set but wasn’t able to earn any breakthrough. It was then the American's turn to turn up the heat just like he had been doing all along in the opening set.
Nadal barely managed to survive his next few service games and was presented with his first big chance in the eighth game. Querrey came up with his bombardment of serves to save as many as five break points in that marathon game to make it 4-4 and dash all hopes of his illustrious rival.
The set eventually headed to a tie-break where Rafa mistimed his forehand to concede a mini-break to go down 3-5. It was a matter of time before the relentless American wrapped it up to win the most impressive title of his career.Published 05 Mar 2017, 10:49 IST