First for Switzerland as Wawrinka edges Querrey

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stanislas Wawrinka ensured a first for Switzerland at the U.S. Open on Tuesday when he edged out big-serving American Sam Querrey 7-6 6-7 7-5 4-6 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

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Wawrinka wrapped up a grueling victory in four hours 28 minutes to join five-times champion Roger Federer in the last eight, the first time Switzerland has ever had two men in the quarter-finals of a grand-slam event.

“It’s the first time for me (in the last eight) so for sure I’m happy with that,” Wawrinka told reporters. “For Roger, he’s always in the quarter-finals, but for me it’s my first time so it’s something important for my career.”

Number 25 seed Wawrinka, who upset fourth seed Andy Murray in the previous round, took to the court with the right thigh that he injured against the Scot heavily wrapped.

But the wrap did not seem to affect his movement at all and he snatched the first-set tie-break 11-9 to move ahead.

Querrey, the last remaining American in the draw, then dropped his serve in the ninth game of the second set but Wawrinka squandered four set points and 20th seed Querrey took his chance, forcing another tie-break and winning it 7-5.

When he broke in the third game of the third set on his way to a 3-1 lead, Querrey looked like he might run away with the match but Wawrinka hit back well and broke in the 12th game to move ahead again.

But Querrey refused to give up and with the rallies getting longer and longer, he snatched the fourth set to level once more.

The deciding set was nip and tuck throughout but Wawrinka finally snatched the vital break, finishing off victory with a nice backhand volley to reach his first grand-slam quarter-final.

Wawrinka said he felt that he was the fitter player in the final set.

“The last four times he was really tired and it was really difficult for him,” the Swiss said. “He changed his game because he was tired.”

Wawrinka will now play Russian 12th seed Mikhail Youzhny for a place in the last four.

Editing by Frank Pingue