It is quarterfinals day at the Aegon Championships at the Queen's Club in London. The tournament had seen the top three seeds Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic all uncharacteristically falling by the wayside in the first round. 2011 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also crashed out in the second round.
Nevertheless, the first match of the day was between two-time quarterfinalist Gilles Muller, who is playing scintillating tennis on grass right now. The left-hander came into his quarterfinal encounter with 2010 champion Sam Querrey on a six-match winning streak after claiming his second title in s-Hertogenbosch against Ivo Karlovic last weekend.
Muller overcame the American in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (5) booking his place in the semifinals at the Queen's Club for the first time in his career, where he will play the highest seed remaining the draw, the fourth seed Marin Cilic, who won the title in 2012 or Donald Young.
Muller finds the breakthrough which ultimately decided the first set
The 2010 champion held serve comfortably in the opening game of the match, and Muller responded with a hold to love, by sending down an ace down the T, to level the match at 1-1.
However, from a poor lapse of concentration, the American played a poor service game, and Muller gained the crucial break to love to take a 2-1 lead. The world number 26 consolidated the break with a scintillating serve out wide, followed by a crushing winner down the line.
The next three games went the way as expected with both players sending down aces and holding to love with the scoreboard still in Muller's favor leading 4-3. The former champion was trying to find a way back into the opening set by gaining a 0-15 lead but the left-hander's serve continued to be a devastating weapon as he sent down a hat-trick of aces, and sealed the game with an unreturnable serve down the middle to lead 5-3.
Despite playing that one bad service game, the former world number 17 was comfortable on his serve, and he served to stay involved the opening set with a hold to love. However, it was too little, too late as Muller created his first set point with a body serve, and it was sealed in 26 minutes by virtue of Querrey committing a forehand unforced error, taking the first set 6-4.
Seventh Heaven for Muller by booking his place into the semifinals
Only two places in the rankings separated both players, who will be seeded for Wimbledon and the American held to love of the opening game of the second set. Muller was under pressure on his serve for the first time in the match as he trailed 0-30, nonetheless, he found a way to hold onto his serve with some good serves.
Querrey played some good tennis in his next service game by producing two aces, and he won the game to love with a backhand
winner down the line to lead 2-1. Moreover, the Luxembourg-native responded with a hold to love is his next service game to level proceedings at 2-2.
Both players were in their rhythm on their serve, and they were not under pressure at all. The unseeded American continued to remain in front leading 4-3 with an ace down the T, and the match sharpness from Muller on the grass was evident as he continued to stay in touch with Querrey at 4-4.
However, at the business end of the set, Querrey was leading 6-5, and Muller was serving to stay in the second set, and taking the set into a second set tiebreak. The two-time former quarterfinalist was comfortable at 40-15 but Muller became unstuck as the American created his first break point in the match on Muller's serve, which happened to be a set point with a sweet backhand return winner down the line.
The left-hander saved it with a crushing forehand winner down the line with some good defensive skills. Another set point chance came for Querrey as Muller missed a sitter of a forehand down the line but he saved it with a strong first serve down the middle.
Ultimately, the destination of the second set was heading into a tiebreak as Muller relied on his first serve to bail him out of trouble in a game that lasted almost ten minutes.
Both players got off to a good start in the tiebreak and the 29-year-old American got the first mini-break of the match at 2-1 but Muller produced a devastating forehand winner down the line to remove the mini-break advantage. Querrey sent down an ace, nudging the scoreboard in his favor once more at 3-2.
However, Muller committed another unforced error handing Querrey the mini-break advantage back, and the 2010 champion was in a good position to claim the second set by taking a 5-3 lead. Furthermore, the world number 26 reeled off three consecutive points with a second service ace to lead 6-5, and create his first match point. Amazingly, Muller took it at the first time of asking with a forehand stretch volley winner, winning his seventh successive match in the process.