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Sam Querrey smiles widely at the mere mention of the Indianapolis Tennis Center’s Stadium Court.

“I feel I can serve really well on that court,” Querrey said. “You get a good bounce to the ball and it really flies. This court suits my game.



“Each match on the court, I get more and more comfortable, more and more in a zone.”

So it’s not surprising the fourth-seeded Querrey finds himself in the Indianapolis Tennis Championships semifinals for the second consecutive year. The 20-year-old Californian will play second-seeded Gilles Simon in Saturday’s opening semifinal at 1 p.m.

The 6-6, 200-pound Querrey advanced today by uncorking a tournament-high 17.aces in a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 triumph over Bobby Reynolds in the quarterfinals.

Last year, Querrey made his first ATP Tour semifinal in Indianapolis. Saturday will be his fourth. He won his first title at Memphis in March and lost in the semifinals at Delray Beach, Fla., in February.

Querrey, ranked No. 45, will compete for the U.S. team in the Olympics and is viewed as one of the country’s rising stars. He showed glimpses last year in Indy, when he pounded a career-high 34 aces to beat defending champion James Blake in the quarterfinals.

“It was probably my greatest serving day ever,” Querrey said.

That result, however, was more surprising than today’s, one reason being Reynolds isn’t Blake, but another is Querrey is much more confident than a year ago at this time.

“I’m ranked higher,” said Querrey, whose career high ranking of No. 38 was reached in May. “I’ve won a title. Each match you win, you gain confidence. I feel my net game has especially gotten a lot better since last year.”

Querrey has reached the third round twice at the Australian Open and is hoping for an even better run at the upcoming U.S. Open. He said it’s his favorite surface, favorite time of the year. Big servers like hard courts and hot weather. Combined with Querrey’s size, and he can be a difficult opponent to topple.

“The serve is a big thing because you can cover a lot of ground with the wingspan,” he said. “At the net, it’s a tough passing shot (for opponents
 

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Sam played a great match against Simon. Hit some nice forehands and volleyed well. I thought he might collapse on the court at the end. His game certainly has improved.
 

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Simon's triumph over Querrey took 2 hours and 5 minutes. That tied a first-round match for the longest in the 2008 tournament.

"It was a match I will remember for a long time," Simon said.

Although Simon said he didn't play particularly well, "the fight was unbelievable at the end."

Simon broke Querrey's serve to take a 4-2 lead in the second set, but Querrey broke right back. Querrey then broke to take a 5-4 edge.

Simon said Querrey began playing better than him in the middle of the second set.

"I was down and out of it and I made a nice comeback," Querrey said.

But Simon knew he had one advantage in the third set.

"I knew I had every chance to win because he looked tired," Simon said. "That's why I kept fighting until the end."

With the score tied 4-all, Querrey had five break points on Simon's serve but couldn't convert.

Querrey was 0-for-8 in break points in the final set and won just three of 19 overall.

"I needed to win that game at 4-all. If I had done that, I might have had enough energy to serve it all at the end," Querrey said.

Simon said his only goal was to make the exhausted Querrey move.

"But he played some nice shots when he was far from the ball," Simon said.

ATP Indianapolis Tennis Championships
 
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