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.”