LONDON (Reuters) - When Andy Murray won the first seven points of his Wimbledon quarter-final against Sam Querrey, the giant-serving American was not thinking about causing a stunning upset — he just wanted to stop the rot.
What started as damage limitation, however, turned into a battling recovery and ended as a brutal slaying of the world number one.
Although British hope Murray was limping around Center Court, nursing a clearly painful hip injury, Querrey would not be distracted, and put the foot down to reach the semi-finals with a shock 3-6 6-4 6-7(4) 6-1 6-1 victory.
“I needed that one point because I was aware I lost seven in a row. I didn’t want to lose eight, then have him serve, probably lose 12. That was on my mind,” he told reporters.
“I was a little nervous at first when we got out there. I had a little bit of a shaky game, my first service game. But then, when I broke back in the second (set), I kind of took a deep breath, settled in a little bit.
“As the match kept going, I just felt more and more confident, more and more like I belonged,” said the 24th seed.
Murray was clearly struggling in the final sets and was unable to cover the court with his usual energy.
His regular grimaces, however, passed Querrey by as he ruthlessly wrapped up victory to become the first American man to reach a grand slam semi-final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009. He will face Croatian seventh seed Marin Cilic.
“I kind of noticed it (Murray’s injury) a little bit from the beginning. But I just kind of stayed with my game,” he said. “I tried to play aggressive and keep swinging after the ball...
“For the most part I just try to worry about what I’m doing.
“I don’t want to alter my game that much or change things up based on what the other guy is doing or how the other guy is feeling. I just try to block it out.”
Querrey has become Wimbledon’s chief giant-killer, having also downed then champion Novak Djokovic in last year’s third round.
At that stage, the Serbian had won 30 straight grand slam matches, but the 29-year-old Querrey said beating Murray in front of the home fans was an even better feeling.
“I was probably a little more fired up today, especially in the fourth and fifth sets. There’s a little more on the line,” he said. “It was similar to last year, honestly. But this year just feels a little better than last year.”
Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Ken Ferris