| By Brian Coleman
Photo Credit: Lee Seidner

 

A finalist a year ago, American Sam Querrey is comfortable on the black courts of NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

He now finds himself two wins away from returning to the New York Open finals after a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Moldova’s Radu Albot on Thursday afternoon.

“I served great, but not only that, it felt like I played well from the ground, moved in, returned well,” said Querrey. “All around it was probably my best match of the year, so I’m happy about that.”

A day after Albot absorbed 37 aces from Ivo Karlovic in a three-set match, Querrey was able to control this match with his serve. He hit 17 aces and won 83 percent of the points on his first serve while never facing a break point.

He converted on one break point in each set to move through in one hour and 10 minutes.

“It was a little inconsistent last year. A lot of times I feel like I play better the more matches I win,” said Querrey comparing last year’s run on Long Island to this year. “I feel like I play better and better as I get into a tournament, so happy to get two wins already and I hope I can make it a few more.”

Querrey now awaits the winner of his compatriot and second-seed Frances Tiafoe, who takes on Jason Jung on Thursday night.

“Obviously he’s riding high on confidence right now and playing well and he’s going to be tough if he gets through,” Querrey said of the potential showdown with Tiafoe. “He’s a powerful guy, he’s a fast guy, he’s young and he’s hungry. I hope he wins. It’d be fun to play him. We’ve played a few times in the past and I think it’d be a fun match tomorrow.”

Earlier in the day, young American Reilly Opelka fired 32 aces in a 6-7(8), 7-6(6), 1-0 (ret.) win over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin to reach the third ATP Tour level quarterfinal of his career.

Opelka will meet Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who ousted fourth-seeded Australian John Millman 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-4 on Thursday.

 

Brian Coleman

 Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com