Sam Querrey stands between Milos Raonic and a second trip to the final four at the grandest of all tennis tournaments.

Raonic reached the semifinals two years ago and lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to Roger Federer and he will be hoping to possibly set up the same match-up when he takes on Querrey at 1 p.m. (8 a.m. EDT in Canada) on Wednesday. The winner will face either the No. 3-seeded Federer or No. 9 Marin Cilic.

Analyzing tennis matches often uses head-to-head meetings as a reference, but in the case of the No. 7-ranked Raonic vs. No. 41 Querrey those may be obsolete because the two last played more than three years ago at the now-defunct ATP event in San Jose, California. Raonic won that one in the semifinals but Querrey prevailed twice the previous year – at the Paris-Bercy indoor event and by a 6-7(3), 7-6(7), 7-6(8), 6-4 score in the second round at Wimbledon ’12.

That match was on the same No. 1 Court where they will meet on Wednesday and at a crucial stage in the 2012 match Raonic missed a key forehand volley.

If there’s anything in his skill-set that has improved since that time it would be his net play, at this year’s Wimbledon he has won 110 of 169 (65%) net approaches while, somewhat surprisingly, Querrey is slightly better at 82 of 123 (67%).


At lot of the numbers over four matches at this year’s Wimbledon for the 6-foot-5 Raonic and 6-foot-6 Querrey are similar. Raonic trails Querrey having won 82% of first serve points to 85% for the 28-year-old American but leads him 60% to 53% on second-serve points won.

Raonic also leads in break points saved – 13/16 to 18/26 for Querrey.

Both have big serves and Raonic has 101 aces over four matches to 97 for Querrey. A fascinating subset of that stat is that Raonic has 14 second-serve aces to just two for Querrey.

He has also been more active serving-and-volleying. Raonic is 66/91 on serve-and-volley points while Querrey has a much smaller sample size but is 5/6.

In terms of brute power, Raonic’s average first serve speed is more redoubtable – with his fastest second serve (139 mph) being just barely slower than his fastest first serve (143 mph). Querrey’s fastest first serve is 134 mph, slower than Raonic’s fastest second serve while his fastest second serve is 109 mph.

There was little sign of Querrey’s fine Wimbledon form at three pre-tournament events on grass – he won four matches but none against anyone ranked higher than No. 105 and he lost to No. 49-ranked Nicolas Mahut, No. 16 Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 40 Marcos Baghdatis. There is one grass-court feather in his cap – he won the 2010 pre-Wimbledon event at Queen’s Club.

But the shock 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5) win over a possibly injured or distracted world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the third round, which followed a first-round squeaker – 6-7(6), 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2, 12-10 over No. 73-ranked Lukas Rosol – have given Querrey an undeniable aura.

Raonic demonstrated his 2016 form on grass by reaching the Queen’s Club final where he was a very close Hawk-Eye call from leading world No. 2 Andy Murray by a set and 3-1 before losing 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3.

Photo: Susan Mullane
Photo: Susan Mullane

Two ends of the youth/experience tennis-playing spectrum offered opinions on Raonic, with the accent on his 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 11-ranked David Goffin on Monday.

Félix Auger-Aliassime, the highly-promising 15-year-old junior from Montreal commented about Raonic, “I was surprised he was down two sets because I thought that lately he was playing better and better on grass. For the first time he came back from two-sets-to love down – so that’s a good step forward for him. It just shows that even the very best players have barriers they have to break through and it means something to come back from two sets down. We’re all happy for him. We hope he’ll go as far as he can.”

Analyzing things a little further, Auger-Aliassime said about Raonic, “he’s moving a lot better than he used to on grass. He can vary his shots and he has an incredible slice and, of course, his serve. He can vary his game well and I get the impression that his opponents are always a little edgy and a little surprised by what he’s doing now.”

Paul Annacone, a former ATP pro, is 53 and has the unique resume of having coached two of the greatest players of all-time – Pete Sampras and Federer.

“The thing that impresses me the most is the comeback,” Annacone said about Raonic, “the big two-sets to love down comeback. That’s the first one for him and seems like he’s really comfortable on the grass. He’s understanding how he needs to play his style.

“For him to feel confident enough to do that from two-sets-to-love down in a round-of-16 match is a huge indication of where he’s feeling in terms of his confidence.”

Annacone, a commentator for Tennis Channel, has seen a lot of Raonic in action at Wimbledon and noted, “he’s playing really good tennis. He’s got such huge weapons that when he puts it all together he can beat everybody. This surface should be great for him so now it gets down to crunch-time and a couple of big opportunities – both for him and for Sam Querrey. It will be interesting to see how it goes.”

Possibly getting ahead of ourselves, Annacone was asked about a potential Raonic – Federer match-up in the semifinals. “Milos beat him in the beginning of the year in Brisbane,” said the former world No. 12 (1986). “That confidence is important to know that you can have that victory. It’s different in a major event especially here where Roger has had so much success. On the grass it’s a different story. So it would be a great match-up but I think both of those guys better focus on their quarter-finals first.”


Neither Raonic nor Querrey appear to be under-estimating the guy who will be on the other side of the net on Wednesday.

“Raonic is having an unbelievable year,” Querrey said. “It’s going to be a tough match. I’ll have to keep my level really high.”

“Today [a 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4 win over Mahut] was definitely not an easy match by any means for him, especially coming back after that huge upset (over Djokovic),” Raonic said about Querrey on Monday. “He’s serving well from what I’ve seen. He’s obviously doing a lot of good things with his forehand.”

With their games being quite similar, Raonic added the punch-line about the potential outcome saying, “it’s really going to be about who can throw the other guy off.” In the end, that’s what it’s probably always about – no matter what style of player a player is.

Pospisil out in doubles


Two years after claiming the title at Wimbledon, the eighth-seeded team of Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock were ousted in the third round on Tuesday – beaten 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-4 by the all-French pairing of Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The loss was doubly disappointing because Pospisil and Sock held two match points at 5-4 in the fourth set on the Benneteau serve.

The decisive break of serve came at 4-4 in the fifth set with Pospisil serving. From 15-30 Sock hit a wild forehand long followed by Roger-Vasselin cracking a screaming forehand service return down-the-line winner on the break point.

In the final game, Benneteau served out to love.

“We had match points in the fourth and ultimately that game was a turning point,” Pospisil said. “We had two match points, got unlucky and hit two tapes. Those could have gone our way.”

Pospisil, who ranks No. 20 in doubles, added, “it hurts for sure to go out in the third round of Wimbledon. I felt like I was playing great tennis and I felt similar to the way I felt when we won in 2014 so that’s what was especially disappointing. I felt like we could have had a good shot to go quite deep this time around.”

Shapovalov, Auger-Aliassime, Andreescu advance


Denis Shapovalov, fresh off the title at the Roehampton junior Wimbledon prep tournament last week, continued his winning ways on Tuesday, defeating British wild card Finn Bass 6-1, 7-5.
“It was tough conditions playing today,” Shapovalov said. “It was tough to get a rhythm on the court but I managed to serve pretty well which helped me.”

About having the experience of playing three matches on the Wimbledon grass a year ago, Shapovalov said, “I feel like the experience has been helping me win a couple of matches here. But you never know – last year I beat the No. 5 junior here so sometimes it doesn’t make a difference.”

About his level, the 17-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., added, “today I didn’t feel so good just because of the wind and stuff. Overall I think I’ve been playing a very good level and I’m happy with my game.”


It was interesting to see Shapovalov and his opponent Bass (above) walking away and talking together after their match.

Shapovalov and partner Félix Auger-Aliassime, top-seeded in the boys doubles, moved on to the second round with a convincing win as did Ben Sigouin of Vancouver alongside Louis Wessels of Germany.


Auger-Aliassime (volleying above) said he started off a bit nervously but winning the first tiebreak gave him confidence and he took the second-round match 7-6(5), 6-3 over Nicola Kuhn of Spain, At Roland Garros, Auger-Aliassime beat Kuhn, a strong player, 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals.

When a Montreal reporter asked about him feeling lucky to be a 15-year-old living the life and playing at Wimbledon, Auger-Aliassime answered in a noticeably mature fashion saying, “we try to be professional. If I had come here on holidays, it’s obvious that I would have tried to explore all over the site. But I’m really here for my tournament and I have other things to do. I have a job to do but of course I try to enjoy being here.”

Further asked about other kids his age who might envy him, Auger-Aliassime, who turns 16 on August 8th (Federer’s 35th birthday), was a little taken aback by the question. “They might envy me but I really don’t know what to say,” he replied smiling. “I did the work and I’m here, and I know I’m lucky to be here.”

The Montealer also has a musical bent and can play the piano. “I try a little bit but I’m on the road a lot so it’s tough to keep playing,” he said. “It’s kind of my hobby – it kind of relaxes me. As soon as I get home I play thirty minutes or an hour of piano. It keeps my head fresh and makes me think about something besides tennis.”

He started playing at seven or eight for two years and then started again about two years ago – “mostly classical music.”


Bianca Andreescu, seeded sixth, reached the third round with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Paula Arias Manjon of Spain.

She has only been playing for six weeks after suffering from a stress fracture in her right foot that forced her to miss the French Open event, among many other events dating back to the beginning of 2016. “It took a while to heal,” the 16-year-old from Mississauga said.

“I didn’t want to rush it, I wanted to take my time,” she said about the long convalescence.

Champion of the Canadian Junior International in Repentigny, Que., the week before the 2015 US Open, Andreescu (far court in the picture at the very top of blog) said about the win on Tuesday, “it wasn’t one of my best matches but I think I was really focused on what I have to do. I played the big points well which helped me win the match.”

Andreescu is happy to be back playing a Grand Slam after missing Roland Garros and being hurt when she played the Australian Open in January. “Especially at Wimbledon, it’s my favourite,” she said.


The fourth Canadian in action on Tuesday, Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Blainville, Que., lost a heartbreaker – 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 to Olga Danilovic in the second round. Robillard-Millette was also beaten by the gangly, 15-year-old Serb in the first round at Roland Garros by a 6-0, 6-4 score.
After the match she was devastated and sat in her courtside chair for more than five minutes, long after Danilovic and all the court officials had departed.

Wimbledon postcard


Newstead Way is a street that runs for about 150 metres from the Gate 16 back entrance to the Wimbledon grounds. In 2008, the year he won the unforgettable five-set final over Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal was staying at No. 12 Newstead Way and could walk to the All England Club in less than a minute. One of the townhouses in that group is currently for sale and the price for the comfortable but hardly luxurious dwelling is 1.99 million pounds, which converts to $3.36 million Canadian.