Querrey reaches third straight quarterfinal in LA

July 31, 2009 07:36 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Sam Querrey advanced to the quarterfinals of a tournament for the third straight week by beating Ryan Sweeting 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in the second round of the LA Tennis Open on Thursday.

Querrey, the No. 6 seed here, has lost in the final round of his past two events, at Newport and Indianapolis. A resident of nearby Santa Monica, Calif., Querrey will continue his bid for a third straight final by taking on No. 4 seed Dudi Sela of Israel on Friday.

Sela advanced with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win over American Robert Kendrick and Leonardo Mayer of Argentina upset No. 5 seed Igor Kunitsyn of Russia 7-6 (5), 6-7 (7), 6-3.

Mayer, who reached his third quarterfinal of the year, will try to make it to the semifinals for the first time when he faces Mardy Fish, the No. 2 seed. Fish beat Chris Guccione 6-7 (3), 7-6 (12), 6-4 on Thursday night.

Fish fought off three match points in the second set tiebreaker and got the only service break of the match early in the third to eliminate Guccione.

Fish, a semifinalist in this event last year, fell behind 3-0 in the second set tiebreaker, rallied to get even, and saved match points at 6-5, 8-7 and 10-9. He captured the set when Guccione hit a backhand into the net and a forehand volley long.

“I was lucky to win it,” said Fish, who opened the third set with a break. He closed out the 2-hour, 22-minute match with an ace and a service winner.

Next up is Querrey.

Querrey won the first set against Sweeting and then fell behind 5-0 in the second. Querrey rallied to pull even at 5 and hold serve to force the tiebreaker. Sweeting won that 7-5, but Querrey regained control with an early service break in the third set.

“I kind of lost focus in the second set a little bit,” Querrey said. “Then I think he kind of lost focus. He let me right back into it without me really playing well, then he picked it up in the tiebreaker. I was kind of bummed there (at 5-0), but it happens. You’ve just got to stay positive and bounce back and I thought I did a good job of that in the third set.

“He (Sweeting) goes for a lot. You never know what you’re going to get from him so you’ve got to be ready for anything. I was just trying to be consistent out there and make him hit a lot of balls.”

Querrey said he’ll try to use the same game plan against Sela, who at 5 feet 9 is 9 inches shorter than the American. But Sela will have a similar mindset after using much the same strategy to beat Kendrick.

“He played a good game to break me in the second set and it was a little tough to see because of the sun,” Sela said. “In the third set, I was returning serve and controlling the points and moving him around and I think he got a little tired.”

Mayer had to deal with both the sun and his nerves before ousting Kunitsyn. The Argentine was up 5-2 and serving for the match in the second set. But he lost that game without winning a point, then fell behind 6-5, before holding serve to force the tiebreaker.

In the third set, he got a service break to go up 5-3 and closed out the match with his ninth ace.

Mayer said through an interpreter that when he served at 5-2 in the second set the sun bothered him, and at 5-4 he was “a little nervous to close out the match. But I learned from it and I was a little bit more relaxed” in the final set.