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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

Federer survives scare to advance in Halle

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HALLE, Germany (AP) Defending champion Roger Federer survived two match points against Benoit Paire to reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7) win on Thursday.

Paire rallied after losing the first set to take the second, and the Frenchman defended two match points at 6-5 in the decider to force a tiebreaker. Eight minutes later, it was a match point for the 48th-ranked Paire, and again when a mistake from Federer left it 7-6 in Paire’s favor.

But the top-ranked Swiss took the next three points to close the match in just under two hours at the grass-court tournament.

Federer extended his grass-court winning streak to 18 matches, including his titles in Stuttgart last week and at Halle and Wimbledon last year.

Federer skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row and is now just four wins away from matching Jimmy Connors’ all-time record of 174 victories on grass.

Federer next faces Matthew Ebden of Australia, who upset former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Also Thursday, Borna Coric defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.

The Croat next faces either Florian Mayer or Andreas Seppi.

Magdalena shows form on grass in Birmingham

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BIRMINGHAM, England — Magdalena Rybarikova, who climbed almost 90 places last year to reach a career-high No. 17 in March, showed she might rise even further after rallying against Kristina Mladenovic 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals in Birmingham.

The Slovak accelerated toward victory against the former top 10 player from France with an array of slice ground strokes, clever approaches and sharp volleys. The range of shots worked excellently on the lush surface at the grass-court Nature Valley Classic and helped her take control midway through the second set.

Rybarikova last year reached the Wimbledon semifinals. She is a former champion here, winning the title in 2009.

In the first round she beat third-seeded Karolina Pliskova for the loss of only five games but found it tougher against Mladenovic.

“I started to play very well,” Rybarikova said of her improvement from the fourth game of the second set against Mladenovic. “She served great to begin with and I struggled with my returns, but I kept fighting and my game improved a lot.

“I think I’d been a bit passive. The key was when I played more cross-court slices and drops and made an early break in the second set.

“That’s the way I am trying to play on grass. I am thankful that I have the game to do that. This court here really suits my game.”

At the changeover in the fifth game of the second set, Mladenovic’s morale appeared to plunge, and afterward her error ratio rose sharply with her standard dropping significantly.

The third set of a match which lasted nearly two hours took only 22 minutes, and long before the end the outcome had ceased to be in doubt.

Rybarikova next faces Slovenian qualifier Dalila Jakupovic, who on Tuesday overcame a difference in rankings of almost 100 places and saved four match points while beating seventh-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium.

Jakupovic followed up Wednesday by getting past 18th-ranked Naomi Osaka of Japan, who recently beat four former top-ranked opponents. Osaka was forced to retired injured after losing the first set 6-3.