Sam Querrey did it again at Wimbledon.
The world No. 28 eliminated the ailing defending champion Andy Murray in five sets in Wednesday’s quarterfinals — a year after ending the grand slam reign of Novak Djokovic at The All England Club.
The American, 29, once gained fame for appearing on reality TV show “Millionaire Matchmaker” — there ultimately was no long lasting relationship — but Querrey’s tennis results are now gaining him a heftier reputation.
In reaching his first grand slam semifinal with the 3-6 6-4 6-7 (4) 6-1 6-1 victory over the British world No. 1 on a day where overcast, chilly conditions gave away to warm sunshine, Querrey becomes the first American man to reach the last four at a major since perennial Wimbledon runner-up Andy Roddick in 2009.
Throughout the tournament questions were asked of Murray’s sore hip — the injury that forced the Scot to pull out of an exhibition and contributed to an early loss at a grass-court tuneup. As he cruised through the draw, his opponents kept saying the same thing: He was moving just fine.
But on Centre Court against the 6ft 6in Querrey, it was apparent Murray was troubled.
He failed to generate much lift on his serve and couldn’t patrol the baseline with his usual energy. The last two sets were swift, lasting a combined 49 minutes. To end points quicker, Murray repeatedly opted for drop shots.
“The whole tournament I’ve been a little bit sore,” Murray admitted to reporters. “But I tried my best right to the end, gave everything I had. I’m proud about that.
“But it’s obviously disappointing to lose at Wimbledon. There’s obviously an opportunity there so I’m sad that it’s over.”
The match probably would have turned out differently had Murray won the second set — which he led by a break at 4-3.
“Maybe I could have got the match done in three sets had I closed out the second after getting the break,” said the Olympic champion.
“I was pretty close. It wasn’t like I was a million miles away from winning the match.
“Obviously, the end was a bit of a struggle, but I almost found a way to get into the semis.”
Almost, but not quite enough.
And so continued Murray’s turbulent 2017. He suffered with shingles and injured his serving elbow before impressively making the French Open semifinals. Then came a return of a long-standing hip problem and now defeat to Querrey.
Querrey, of course, did what he had to and more, striking 27 aces and 70 winners, though Murray’s impaired movement inflated those numbers. He ended matters and disappointed the Centre Court crowd in the process by thumping an ace on a second match point to beat Murray for the second time in his career.
It was the first time Murray had lost a match at Wimbledon after winning the first set since his 2012 defeat to Roger Federer in the final.
Overall, he lost a fourth five-setter in succession, whereas Querrey has now won four straight five-set matches. The laid-back Californian, too, owns a 4-2 record against the top-10 in his last six encounters.
Nadal’s conqueror departs
Querrey will play Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the semifinals Friday after the 2014 US Open champion ended the dream run of 16th-seed Gilles Muller — who had ousted 15-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal in a five-set, five-hour classic Monday.
Muller, however, didn’t bow out tamely as Cilic needed five sets to prevail 3-6 7-6 (6) 7-5 5-7 6-1 on Court One. The defining moment came in the second-set tiebreak when the huge-serving Muller relinquished a 5-3 advantage.
In the other quarterfinals, seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer plays Milos Raonic in a rematch of last year’s semifinal, which the Canadian won, and three-time winner Djokovic confronts 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych.
Although Djokovic sports a 25-2 record against Berdych, the Serb didn’t have a day off Wednesday like his other quarterfinalists and took a medical timeout for what appeared to be a shoulder problem in a straight-set win over Adrian Mannarino.