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Querrey knocks off Djokovic in third-round stunner

American Sam Querrey, left, shakes hands with Novak Djokovic after beating him in their men’s singles match at Wimbledon on Saturday. (Alastair Grant / Associated Press)
American Sam Querrey, left, shakes hands with Novak Djokovic after beating him in their men’s singles match at Wimbledon on Saturday. (Alastair Grant / Associated Press)
By Bill Scott Tribune News Service

LONDON – American Sam Querrey held on over two days and four rain interruptions to hand top seed Novak Djokovic his earliest loss at a Grand Slam since 2009 with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) victory at Wimbledon on Saturday.

Djokovic’s third-round knockout was the earliest exit for the No. 1 at a Grand Slam since 2009 and his worst at Wimbledon since going out in the second round in 2008.

The match, which took a total of three hours on court, also ended any Djokovic quest for a calendar-year Grand Slam after winning the Australian and French Opens this season.

Second seed Andy Murray, beaten in those finals by Djokovic, had a calm win over Australian John Millman, reaching the second week 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.

Murray, the 2013 Wimbledon winner, said that despite the loss of Djokovic, “that result won’t have any bearing on me unless I reach the final.

“There are a lot of tough guys in my half of the draw. Novak had an amazing run; what he’s done over the past 12-18 months, we won’t see again for a long time.“

Querrey, ranked 41st and noted mainly for a big serve, played the match of his life, holding his nerve despite the stressful conditions in the start-stop contest.

“It’s indescribable, and it’s especially incredible to do it at the most famous event in the world,“ Querrey said after raining down 31 aces to seven for his opponent.

“I’m so ecstatic and happy right now – that’s about it.

“I played the break points really well and came up with some big serves. I got a couple of loose errors from him in the tiebreaker and that was it.”

The American said he stayed calm during the overnight pause while holding the unexpected match lead.

“I was ready for him,” Querrey said. “We soon got another rain delay and was able to regroup. I knew he was mentally tough and would work to come back.”

Djokovic was stunned in defeat but was giving nothing away about his condition. “The interruptions were the same for both of us. I was not 100 percent healthy, but this is not the time or place to talk of it.

”He played a terrific match, served very well, that part of his game was brutal today. He just overpowered me,” said Djokovic, winner of the last four Grand Slam titles and his previous 30 matches at the majors.

”I had chances in the fourth set, I served for it. But I wasn’t feeling the ball as well as possible.“

Djokovic also confirmed that he would not compete in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Britain in two weeks in Belgrade.

In other third-round matches at the end of a delayed week, fifth seed Kei Nishikori advanced past Andrey Kuznetsov 7-5, 6-3, 7-5 while 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic, the No. 9, beat Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

In the women’s third round, fourth seed Angelique Kerber beat fellow German Carina Witthoeft 7-6 (13-11), 6-1. Former semifinalist Simona Halep, the No. 5, defeated Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3.

Yaroslava Shvedova upset former finalist Sabine Lisicki 7-6 (7-2), 6-1.

Two-time champion Petra Kvitova lost 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) to Ekaterina Makarova in a second-round match delayed for days.

Wimbledon will play on the middle Sunday for the first time in 12 years, and only the fourth in history, in hopes of catching up a back-logged schedule.

Up to 22,000 tickets were sold online in 27 minutes.

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