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Djokovic conqueror Querrey reaches 1st Slam QF at Wimbledon

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LONDON — One match after a stunning victory over two-time reigning champion Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, there was no letdown for Sam Querrey.

And Querrey was all too aware people might have wondered whether he could follow that up with another strong performance.

“If I didn’t win, there would have been a lot of, `Wow, it was kind of a fluky match against Novak, because you didn’t back it up,”‘ Querrey said. “I feel like I did a really good job of putting my head down and playing really well today.”

Using his strong serve to produce 23 aces and getting broken only once, the 41st-ranked Querrey eliminated France’s Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-4 on Monday at the All England Club to reach the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of his career.

Another significant statistic attached to this Fourth of July victory for Querrey: He is the first American man to make it to the final eight at any major tournament since 2011, when Andy Roddick and John Isner lost at that stage of the U.S. Open.

That year was also the last time a man from the country, Mardy Fish, was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon.

Heady stuff for Querrey, a 28-year-old Californian who is so laid-back on the court that he absentmindedly flips or twirls his racket while waiting to receive serve.

“It must be natural,” Querrey said, “because I didn’t really know I did it.”

After ending the No. 1-ranked Djokovic’s 30-match Grand Slam winning streak in the third round, Querrey acknowledged, “I’m sure there’s been times where I’ve been much too casual and relaxed and I’ve lost a lot of matches.”

That cool demeanor is serving Querrey well this fortnight, though.

“I haven’t felt many nerves yet this week. I think I’m kind of over that almost,” he said. “Hopefully will just kind of play freely and have fun and play big and hopefully get another win.”

To reach the semifinals, Querrey will need to get past No. 6 seeded Milos Raonic of Canada. Raonic constructed the first comeback from a two-set deficit in his career Monday, beating No. 11 David Goffin of Belgium 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Querrey holds a 2-1 head-to-head edge over Raonic, a two-time major semifinalist, including at Wimbledon in 2014.

One thing Querrey does not seem to want to do is put his monumental upset of Djokovic out of his mind.

“I’m not going to lie: After the Novak match, I watched every highlight I could over and over,” Querrey said. “Enjoyed the hell out of that moment.”

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

Stan Wawrinka advances to Australian Open semifinals

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U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka is through to the Australian Open semifinals after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-3 at Rod Laver Arena.

Wawrinka will play the winner of the night quarterfinal between Roger Federer and Mischa Zverev.

It was Wawrinka’s fourth win in a row over Tsonga and the first meeting between the pair at a Grand Slam other than the French Open, where they had met three times, with Wawrinka holding a 2-1 edge.

It was also the pair’s first meeting on a hardcourt in nearly 10 years — at Metz, France in 2007, when Tsonga won.

Venus Williams sets Australian record with run to semifinals

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Age appears to be no barrier for Venus Williams.

The 36-year-old Williams beat No. 24-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Tuesday, becoming the oldest player to reach the Australian Open women’s semifinals in the Open era.

Her 50th career win at Melbourne Park earned her a spot in the last four for the first time in 14 years.

“It’s wonderful to start the year out with this appearance,” said Williams, who hadn’t reached the semifinals here since 2003, the year she lost the final to her sister, Serena. “I want to go further. I’m not happy just with this. But I’m so happy to be in the position to like go further.”

She will next play CoCo Vandeweghe, who is in the Australian Open semifinals for the first time.

I’m just so excited that I have an opportunity to play again,” Williams said. “That’s all I’m focused on.”

Williams dropped four service games against Pavlyuchenkova, but she responded each time by breaking back. In the tiebreaker, she trailed 3-1 before winning the last six points – clinching the match on Pavlyuchenkova’s double-fault.

The seven-time major winner has advanced through the tournament without dropping a set, recovering from a right elbow injury that forced her to withdraw from a warmup tournament in New Zealand.

Now she is into semifinals for the second time in three majors – after a six-year absence from the last four – and for the 21st time overall.

With her run to the Wimbledon semifinals last year, Williams became the oldest woman since Martina Navratilova in 1994 to advance so far at a major. Navratilova was 37, years 258 days at the end of Wimbledon that year.

The record belongs to Billie Jean King, who was 39 years, 223 days when she reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1983.