^ great Q&A
As for Blake, he is trying to assemble one final comeback.
“It’s so different this time,” Blake said, as opposed to eight years ago when his ranking plunged to the 200s. “When I first came back after the injury (broken neck) and illness (Zoster), I still really wanted to prove something to myself and everyone out there.
“When I got hurt the first time, I felt I was clicking and my game was on the upward swing. I wanted to prove I could succeed at this sport and that I deserved to be out here at this level.”
During this latest climb back, Blake is handling the journey with a healthy dose of perspective. Much of it has to do with his personal life. He got married last fall and the couple has a young daughter, Riley.
“Things have just changed,” Blake said. “The first thing I did when I got off the court was hear from my wife that my (8-month-old) daughter pulled herself up and stood on her own. That’s a much bigger day to me.”
Not to underplay his daughter’s accomplishment, but Blake’s recovery against Mayer was at least as impressive. Down a set and a break, Blake got back on his feet, too.
He broke back to tie the match at 3-all beginning a streak in which he won 16 of 17 points to even the match at one set apiece. Blake overpowered Mayer with a mix of power, speed, quickness and shot-making.
“He played unbelievable for a set and a half (but) I didn’t get too down on myself,” Blake said. “I felt I was playing really well and actually putting a lot of pressure on him, but he just kept coming up with shot after shot.”
Blake began his comeback by breaking Mayer at love. He broke Mayer again, at love, to go up 5-3 in the second set on a blistering forehand return winner.
Querrey, who beat Alejandro Falla, 6-3, 6-3, said Blake is simply enjoying this stage of his career. With 10 titles and more than $7.5 million in earnings, he’s got little to prove.
“Every time I see Blake he has a smile on his face,” Querrey said. “He’s a few points away from being in the top 100 and that’s his immediate goal so he can (qualify for) the French Open and Wimbledon. But he’s happy. He’s married. He’s got a little daughter. I think he’s in a good place.”