By J. Fred Sidhu, special to EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com
American Sam Querrey returns to the Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, on a nine-match winning streak after taking home the Southern California men’s title in 2009 and 2010. Querrey has begun to regain the form that made him a top-20 player, reaching the third round of Wimbledon before losing an epic 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-7 (3),
17-15 battle to Marin Cilic in a match that lasted 5 hours, 31 minutes, the second-longest singles match in Wimbledon history. Americans Ryan Harrison and Brian Baker could contend for the championship at UCLA. Harrison reached the semifinals last year, while Baker has made an impressive comeback after five surgeries between 2005 and 2008. Former U.S. Davis Cup stars James Blake and Robby Ginepri will also challenge Querrey for the title. Blake reached the finals in 2007, and Ginepri is a two-time quarterfinalist.
During his extraordinary tennis career, former world No. 1 Jimmy Connors won four singles titles in Los Angeles, and he also had success in doubles. In 1972, the 20-year-old Connors teamed with tennis legend Richard "Pancho" Gonzalez to capture the doubles crown.
One to Watch:
Steve Johnson recently ended his collegiate tennis career at the University of Southern California with a 72-match winning streak in singles. The 22-year-old All-American also captured his second straight NCAA Singles title and led his team to a fourth consecutive NCAA Team Championship.
Did You Know?
The Farmers Classic holds a noteworthy distinction in one of the country’s largest sports markets. The men’s tennis tournament, which has been played every year since 1927, is the longest-running annual professional sports event in Los Angeles.