American Sam Querrey ended Fabrice “The Magician” Santoro’s two-year reign at the ATP Tennis Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, R.I. on Saturday, defeating the Frenchman 6-3, 7-6(2).
Santoro, who was seeded No. 2, won the Newport title in 2007 and 2008.
The No. 3-seeded Querrey withstood the barrage of slices and net-rushes from the two-handed Santoro, powering him off the court with a heavy serve and forehand combination.
“He played a very good match and served unbelievably well,” Santoro said.
Querrey unloaded four aces on his first four serves in the tiebreak, eventually clinching it and the match.
“It’s nice in the tiebreak when I serve four times and it’s four aces,” Querrey said. “First serve percentage was key for me and I did that well…If he gets on top of the point it’s very difficult, he’s very crafty.”
It is the first grasscourt final for Querrey, whose lone tournament title came on hardcourt in Las Vegas in 2008.
In the earlier all-unseeded semifinal, American lucky loser Rajeev Ram outmaneuvered diminutive Belgian Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-4.
“To be through to my first ATP final is unbelievable,” Ram told reporters. “I can’t even put it into words. It’s something you work for for a long time.”
Ram reached the main draw when fellow American and top seed Mardy Fish withdrew to replace Andy Roddick in Davis Cup play.
“It’s interesting circumstances,” said the 25-year-old Ram of Carmel, Ind., American-born but of Indian heritage. “But I just figured I would try to take advantage of the situation and it has gone well so far — a little bit of belief, a little bit of good fortune and a lot of hard work.”
It will be the first meeting between Querrey and Ram.
“He qualified at Wimbledon and he’s playing really well, it’s going to be a tough one tomorrow,” Querrey said.
You Might Like:
Pro Previews: ATP Newport, WTA Budapest, Bastad
ATP Newport Blog Wrap
Murray Rises, Safin Flops at French Open
Top-Seeded Isner in ATP Newport Quarters Today; Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Tomorrow
Ljubicic Lone ‘Star’ at ATP Zagreb