It’s American vs. American in fourth round at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England — Matches between American men were once an unremarkable fixture of the latter stages of Grand Slam events, including Wimbledon. In the first 33 years of the Open era, from 1968 to 2000, American men squared off in the fourth round or later 72 times at the All England Club.

But it has not happened at Wimbledon since 2000. Tennys Sandgren and Sam Querrey will change that Monday. Their fourth-round meeting will be the first match between American men in the second week of any Grand Slam tournament since the 2007 Australian Open, when Andy Roddick beat Mardy Fish in the quarterfinals, and the first at Wimbledon since Pete Sampras beat Jan-Michael Gambill in the 2000 quarterfinals.

Querrey booked his spot first, defeating John Millman 7-6 (3), 7-6 (8), 6-3. Querrey, 31, opened this year’s tournament by beating No. 5 Dominic Thiem.

Querrey’s play has been surprising given his lack of matches this year, the result of an abdominal injury that forced him out of the European clay swing.

“Fortunately, the little injury was during the clay-court season, which historically hasn’t been my favorite,” said Querrey, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2017. “Here, I can jump right in and feel fine.”

Querrey, ranked 65th, did express some satisfaction at being part of a milestone match.

“If three months ago you were like, ‘Oh, two American men will play in the second week of a Slam,’ you probably wouldn’t have said, ‘Querrey-Sandgren,’” he said. “It’s exciting. You’ve got one guy in the quarters.”

Sandgren, 27, had no history of grass-court success before this event. Wimbledon is only his sixth professional tournament on grass. He kept his composure and focus to beat 12th-seeded Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6 (12), 6-3.

Playing at Court 14, with its 318 seating capacity, Fognini unleashed a tirade in Italian at one moment, saying he wanted a bomb to explode at the All England Club. He later apologized and said his comments came in the heat of the moment because he was upset about not playing well and the condition of the court’s grass.

No American man has made a Grand Slam final in a decade, since Roddick suffered a 16-14 fifth-set loss to Roger Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final. But for Sandgren, who made his own breakthrough run to the Australian Open quarterfinals last year and is ranked 94th, there are reasons for optimism.

“It’s definitely better than it was three, four years ago,” he said. “We have more guys pushing each other, and I think there’s always a chance that an American guy does make a run at one of these big events.”

Some of the usual suspects advanced to the fourth round with ease Saturday, including Federer and Rafael Nadal, who both won in straight sets.

Federer, the eight-time champion, and two-time winner Nadal moved closer to a semifinal showdown. Federer’s record 17th visit to the fourth round at Wimbledon will come against No. 17 Matteo Berrettini.

“For me, I’m very happy how it’s going so far,” said Federer, a 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (4) winner over No. 27 Lucas Pouille. “I hope it’s going to take a special performance from somebody to stop me, not just a mediocre performance.”

Nadal, who defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, meets unseeded Joao Sousa next.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/It-s-American-vs-American-in-fourth-round-at-14076608.php.

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