HOUSTON (AP) — Sam Querrey and Jack Sock set up the first all-American final in a dozen years in the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship.
The eighth-seeded Querrey dominated on his crushing serve in the rain-interrupted third set Saturday to upset defending champion Fernando Verdasco of Spain 7-5, 2-6, 6-4. Sock knocked off third-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa 7-6 (3), 6-3 to advance to his first ATP World Tour final.
The last time two U.S. players squared off in the final, Andre Agassi beat Andy Roddick in 2003. The Querrey-Sock match will be the first showdown between two Americans anywhere in an ATP Tour final since Mardy Fish topped John Isner in Atlanta in July 2011.
The 22-year-old Sock, the Wimbledon doubles champion, began his breakout run with an upset victory over second-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.
“I really enjoy playing on the clay,” Sock said. “It gave me a little more time against such a big server like Kevin and I thought I served well. I was holding pretty comfortably throughout the match until the last game, which seems to happen sometimes. I was able to scrap out a few points to get the break (for a 4-2 second-set lead) and that was enough today.”
Sock didn’t give Anderson a chance to break him until the final game, when he was serving for the right to play for the championship. And that wobble only slightly delayed the inevitable.
Anderson saved eight break points before finally yielding to Sock’s vicious forehand winner.
Sock, ranked 46th in singles, improved his match record to 9-2 in 2015, having only made his season debut at Indian Wells last month after undergoing surgery in December to repair a torn pelvic muscle.
The 27-year-old Querrey won his only clay-court title in 2010 in Belgrade.
Querrey served a love game to emphatically finish off Verdasco, a former top-10 player with six career ATP victories. Querrey got a quick break in the decisive set and led 2-1 when bad weather forced the players off the court. Querrey returned trailing love 15 and immediately fell behind love-30, but he then battled through four deuces to hold and keep his momentum.
“My next three service games were relatively easy,” he said. “I kind of got in a rhythm and made a lot of first serves. I’m tough to beat when I’m doing that.”
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