Sam Querrey had only beaten Top 20 players back-to-back three times over the course of his career prior to tearing up the field in Acapulco. Last week, the American took out four Top 17 players in a row on the South American hard courts to win the ATP World Tour 500 title (his ninth career crown).
Perhaps the way he won the title—blasting his way past Australian Open finalist and 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 7- 6(3) with an unbeatable display of forehands and serving—made this his most impressive week of tennis yet.
“I’m ecstatic,” Querrey said after the win. “To do it against Rafa makes it even a little sweeter, and I’m just really happy with how I played this whole week. So hopefully I [can] just keep this up.”
While Querrey’s level against Nadal was unquestionably high, it was not the first time he found an exceptional level against the Spaniard. In fact, the American won sets over the left-hander in three of their four previous matches. And in that other meeting, despite losing 6-4, 6-2 in Madrid last year, Romanian legend Ion Tiriac thought Querrey played some of the best tennis he had ever seen.
In an interview where he also said other things, Ion Tiriac said that Sam Querrey's start vs Rafa in Madrid was best tennis he'd EVER seen.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 1, 2016
“I think I just kept my level at a high level throughout the match,” Querrey said on Sunday in Acapulco. “In the past I’ve maybe tapered off a little bit. Today I just kept it up.”
Keeping up turned into beating the world No. 6. Nadal had only lost in straight sets to opponents ranked as low or lower than Querrey (40th) four times since 2007.
It was no fluke, either, as Querrey beat up-and-comer Kyle Edmund before taking out four of the tournament’s top six seeds—David Goffin, Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios and Nadal—to win the title.
He's now risen to No. 26 in the world and is the third-ranked American man just ahead of Steve Johnson.
Last year, Querrey stunned Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon. This year, he has shown that he can maintain that high level throughout a whole tournament.
What does the 29-year-old have in store next?