For a player who once served a record 10 consecutive aces, it
was quite some admission by Sam Querrey that he felt he had
served the best he had ever done in his straight-sets win
over Olivier Rochus today.
Querrey fired down 18 aces in his 7-5 6-3 win over Rochus and
won 34 of the 36 points (94 per cent) on his first serve.
It is a big weapon, aided considerably by the fact Querrey
stands 1.98m. He routinely sent down bullets in excess of
200kmh whereas the diminutive Rochus, who is 30cm shorter,
struggled to get many of his first serves over 160kmh.
Querrey in this sort of form looms as one of the threats to
David Ferrer's quest for a third-straight Heineken Open title
but Ferrer has also built his career around returning big
serves. He's come across countless Querreys in his successful
career and dispatched most of them.
Regardless, Querrey sees himself as a contender this week in
Auckland if he can keep his serve together. He nearly won in
2009 but was beaten in the final by Juan Martin del Potro.
"Because I served so well, my service games were relatively
easy and it took so much pressure off me," he said. "It let
me take a few chances on his serve.
"I feel like I'm playing well. If I keep serving well and
keep hitting my forehand great, I feel like I'm a tough guy
to beat. My goal is to win it but I've got to take it one
match at a time."
His goal is also to break into the world's top 10 for the
first time. He came into the tournament ranked 22nd in the
world - he's been as high as 17 in January 2011 - and feels
he has a good chance to do it in the first six months of the
year given the ranking points he picked up in a good end to
The 25-year-old will now take on Canadian qualifier Jesse
Levine, who beat Brian Baker 7-5 6-4, before a possible
semifinal matchup against second seed and world No 19 Philipp
Kohlschreiber, who won the Heineken Open in 2008, was
stretched by Colombian Alejandro Falla before winning 7-6(4)
4-6 6-3 in two hours 12 minutes.
He won the critical points on the back of his experience and
court-craft and is looking to carry on the good form of last
year when he cracked the world's top 20 for the first time in
The Heineken Open is his most successful tournament outside
of Germany - he's won it once, been in the semfinals twice
and only once failed to make the quarter-finals in eight
previous visits here - but he has a tricky quarter-final
against Belgian journeyman Xavier Malisse.