American Duel: Querrey draws Russell in first round

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American Duel: Querrey draws Russell in first round

by Romi Cvitkovic

As one of the more highly anticipated first round matchups at the Delray Beach ITC, No. 3 seed and 2008 semifinalist Sam Querrey is set to take on fellow American Michael Russell on Monday evening.

The match between the two Americans is a “duel” over two years in the making. While the 25-year-old Querrey holds a 3-0 winning record against the 34-year-old Russell, the two have not encountered each other in tournament play since the summer of 2010. With both currently in peak form, their paths up the rankings have been vastly different.

Querrey has only recently battled back from a 2011 elbow injury that derailed his ascension, and sits just shy of his career-high ranking of No. 17. His steady and quiet climb over the past year has been taken with caution, but his win over then-world No. 2 Novak Djokovic at the Paris Masters last October solidified his renewed health and comeback.

Russell has similarly been sharpening his way up the rankings, reaching a career-high of No. 60 in 2007, before unexpectedly tumbling outside of the top 100. It has been just within the last few months that the veteran has shown a late-career resurgence, this week passing young American Ryan Harrison as the fifth-highest ranked active American on the ATP World Tour.

With both players having already posted big wins this year (Russell reached the quarterfinals of Memphis and Querrey reached the semifinals of Auckland and San Jose), this “duel” between two friends and compatriots is sure to be a memorable one.

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