Querrey wins all-American final to claim Delray Beach title

February 21, 2016 04:44 PM

By E.J. Crawford, USTA.com

A return to the States has featured a return to form for Sam Querrey.

The 6-foot-6 Californian shook off a slow start to 2016 with his first ATP title in four years, posting a 6-4, 7-6(6) victory over fellow American Rajeev Ram Sunday at the Delray Beach Open in Delray Beach, Fla.

Querrey lost in the second round in Auckland and the first round of the Australian Open to start the year. But last week he made a strong run in Memphis, falling to world No. 7 Kei Nishikori in a taught three-set semifinal, and in Delray Beach the world No. 61 – he will return to the Top 50 when the new rankings are released on Monday – powered through a solid draw, capped with a straight-sets win over 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals and Sunday’s victory over Ram.

Querrey has now won eight career ATP World Tour titles, six of which have come in the U.S. His last crown came in Los Angeles in 2012, though he came close in 2015, losing to Jack Sock in Houston and Denis Istomin in Nottingham.

“I had two finals last year, both close losses," Querrey told atpworldtour.com after his victory, "so it feels good to be in the winner’s circle.”

Sunday was Ram’s third tour final, following titles in Newport in 2009 and 2015. He had a chance to add a third against Querrey but couldn't consolidate after going up a break in each set. Querrey secured the victory with a running forehand passing shot that just caught the line.

“It’s hard when you play someone you know so well in a final,” said Ram. “I would’ve loved to hold my serve every time and win, 6-4, 6-4, but that’s not how it works. What I was more disappointed about was not keeping the momentum I had in both sets."

Regardless, with his run in Delray Beach, which included wins over No. 2 seed Bernard Tomic and No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov, the 31-year-old veteran will rise to a career-high ranking on Monday. His previous best was No. 78, achieved in 2009.