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

Fernando Verdasco accepts 2-month doping ban

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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LONDON – Former top-10 player Fernando Verdasco accepted a voluntary provisional doping suspension of two months after testing positive for a medication for ADHD, the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced.

Verdasco, who turned 39 this month, said he was taking methylphenidate as medication prescribed by his doctor to treat ADHD but forgot to renew his therapeutic use exemption for the drug. The integrity agency said Verdasco has now been granted an exemption by the World Anti-Doping Agency moving forward.

He tested positive at an ATP Challenger tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in February.

The integrity agency said in a news release that it “accepts that the player did not intend to cheat, that his violation was inadvertent and unintentional, and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for it,” and so what could have been a two-year suspension was reduced to two months.

Verdasco will be eligible to compete on Jan. 8.

The Spaniard is a four-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, reaching that stage most recently in 2013 at Wimbledon, where he blew a two-set lead in a five-set loss to eventual champion Andy Murray.

Verdasco reached a career-best ranking of No. 7 in April 2009 and currently is No. 125.

Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov give Canada 1st Davis Cup title

Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports
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MALAGA, Spain — Felix Auger-Aliassime fell to his back behind the baseline, then waited for teammates to race off Canada’s bench and pile on top of him.

A few minutes later, the Canadians finally could lift the Davis Cup.

“I think of us all here, we’ve dreamt of this moment,” Auger-Aliassime said.

Canada won the title for the first time, beating Australia behind victories from Denis Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime.

Auger-Aliassime secured the winning point when he downed Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-4 after Shapovalov opened the day by rolling past Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4.

Seven years after leading Canada to the top of junior tennis, Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov and their teammates finally got to lift the biggest team trophy in their sport.

“We wanted to grow up and be part of the team and try to help the country win the first title,” Shapovalov said, “so everything is just so surreal right now.”

Shapovalov had dropped both his singles matches this week and needed treatment on his back during a three-set loss in the semifinals to Lorenzo Sonego of Italy that lasted 3 hours, 15 minutes. But the left-hander moved quickly around the court, setting up angles to put away winners while racing to a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Auger-Aliassime then finished off his superb second half of the season by completing a perfect week in Spain. He twice had kept the Canadians alive after Shapovalov dropped the opening singles match, and he replaced his weary teammate to join Vasek Pospisil for the decisive doubles point.

This time, Auger-Aliassime made sure the doubles match wouldn’t even be necessary. After his teammates poured onto the court to celebrate with him, they got up and danced around in a circle.

Canada had reached the final only once, falling to host Spain in Madrid in 2019, when Rafael Nadal beat Shapovalov for the clinching point after Auger-Aliassime had lost in the opening match.

But with Auger-Aliassime having since surged up the rankings to his current spot at No. 6, the Canadians are a much more formidable team now. They won the ATP Cup in January and finally added the Davis Cup crown to the junior Davis Cup title Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov led them to in 2015.

Australia was trying for its 29th title and first since current captain Lleyton Hewitt was part of the title-winning team in 2003.

But it was finally time for the Canadians, who were given a wild card into the field when Russia was suspended because of its invasion of Ukraine.

“Look, I think we were very close today,” de Minaur said. “Just wait until the next time we get the same matchup. Hopefully we can get the win and prove that we can do it.”

But Canada will be tough to beat as long as Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov play.

Shapovalov is just 23 and Auger-Aliassime 22, but both already have been Grand Slam semifinalists and Auger-Aliassime ended 2022 as one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour. He won all of his four titles this year, including three straight weeks in October.

He also beat Carlos Alcaraz in the previous Davis Cup stage in September, just after the Spaniard had won the U.S. Open to rise to No. 1 in the rankings. That victory helped send the Canadians into the quarterfinals, which they started this week by edging Germany.

“They’re not kids anymore, that’s for sure. Not after today – well not after the last couple of years,” said Pospisil, the team veteran at 32. “They’ve been crushing it.”