Pagliaro: Sam Querrey is Overlooked and Overpowering in Opener

The heavy thud of Sam Querrey’s 130 mph serve banging off the back wall reverberated around the Grandstand Court today.

Querrey barely uttered a word during his 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, dismissal of  nemesis Gilles Simon, but his screaming serve spoke volumes in his first US Open victory since 2014.

Powering through a potential danger match against an opponent he’d never beaten on hard court before, Querrey played proactive tennis joining compatriots John Isner, Stevie Johnson and Jared Donaldson in the US Open second round. 

Hours later, 13th-seeded American Jack Sock fell in five sets to Aussie Jordan Thompson.

The 10th-seeded Isner is the highest American man in the field, but Querrey may be the most dangerous. 

“I thought I did everything pretty well,” Querrey said. “The best thing I thought I did well was not get too down on myself. I lost serve three or four times in a row at one point, which doesn’t happen too often. I did a good job of battling through that.

“Every part of my game felt good today, so overall I was pretty happy.”

A happy ending to what could have been a nerve-wracking start.

When second-seeded Andy Murray withdrew from the tournament on Saturday, the USTA elevated 2014 champion Marin Cilic, the fifth seed, to the departed Scot’s second-seeded spot in the draw.

The switch shifted the 17th-seeded Querrey into the opening-round clash with the dangerous Simon, who had won four of their prior five meetings, including all three of their previous hard-court clashes. 

“I understand the reasoning,” Querrey said of the seeding shuffle. “The only one I don’t understand is why the 3 (seed) doesn’t go to 2. If 5 is going to go to 2, and 17 is going to go to 16, the next guy in is going to go to 32, I feel like 3 should go to 2. Other than that, I understand it.”

It’s tough to fly under the radar when you’re 6-foot-6 and possess the explosive serve and forehand Querrey has shown scoring wins over Rafael Nadal, Murray, Dominic Thiem and Nick Kyrgios this year.

Querrey, whose post-match press conference drew only two journalists, may be overlooked at times but he was overwhelming today.

The 29-year-old Californian cracked 31 winners and frequently followed his drives forward winning 20 of 27 trips to net to set up a second-round clash with Israel’s Dudi Sela.

Given Querrey is coming off his first career Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon, it stands to reason his US Open expectations have changed, too, right?

“No,” Querrey replied. “I lost first round the last couple years, so I honestly want to win one round and go from there. I’m going one round at a time. I feel like I’m playing really well. I feel like I can go far in the tournament.”

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