ORLANDO – Sam Querrey made a successful debut on the Champions Series Tennis circuit Saturday beating Tommy Haas 6-4 in the one-set final to win the Bea For Kids Champions Challenge presented by Raymond James at the Heathrow Country Club.
The former world ranked # 11, and currently # 109 in the ATP singles rankings, 34-year-old Querrey handed the 43-year-old Haas his first loss of the year on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30. Querrey admitted to nerves in his champions debut since he is only player on the tour still active on the ATP Tour.
“It’s really fun,” said Querrey of his Champions Series Tennis debut. “I was nervous all day today, so I feel like I’ve got one under my belt now, but I had a great time.”
Haas entered the event as the dominant player on the Champions Series Tennis circuit having won 24 of his last 26 matches and 14 titles. Haas last lost a Champions Series match almost exactly year ago on December 6, 2020 to Robby Ginerpi also in the final of the Bea For Kids Champions Challenge presented by Raymond James at the Heathrow Country Club. Haas has won all but six of the Champions Series Tennis events he has played in since joining the Champions Series Tennis circuit in 2018.
“Tommy still plays at a really high level,” said Querrey. “He wins a lot of these events. So, he could probably still be on the tour and be ranked pretty high.”
When asked in his post-match on-court interview with Brett Haber on his overall impression of the Champions Series, Querrey said he was impressed.
“It’s fun to come to these clubs and enjoy the great atmospheres while doing the meet and greets and the clinics,” said Querrey. “It’s honestly more fun than a lot of the tour events.”
One element, however, took Querrey by surprise, which was calling his own lines, which is customary on the Champions Series Tennis circuit. Querrey did not know this until the coin flip before his opening match against Marcos Baghdatis.
“I haven’t called my own line in 16 years,” said Querrey. “No one cheated luckily. I’m worried about the opposite thing of like playing balls that are out in because you want to be a nice guy, but fortunately, we didn’t have any weird situations there.”
To reach the final, Querrey defeated Baghdatis 6-1 in the first semifinal while Haas defeated James Blake 6-4.
Querrey collected the first prize paycheck of $25,000 while Haas earned $15,000 for finishing runner-up. Haas increased his 2021 Champions Series Tennis prize money earnings to $90,000. Blake and Baghdatis each earned $10,000. The matches will be televised on Fox Sports Net affiliates and Tennis Channel in future weeks. All Champions Series events feature two one-set semifinal matches followed by a one-set championship match.
Earlier this year, Haas swept both titles at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, losing only five games combined in both events while beating Blake and Bob Bryan both by 6-1 margins in each respective final. Haas also won the title at The Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia defeating Andy Roddick in the final.
In 2020, Haas won the season-long points title for a second straight season, winning four titles – two at the Sherwood Country Club and two titles in Orlando – and finished with a 10-2 series match record.
In 2019, Haas finished with a perfect 10-0 record to win the year-long points championship for the first time. He won titles in Newport Beach, Calif., Maui, Hawaii, New Haven, Connecticut, Los Angeles and Houston to become the first player in the 15-year history of the Champions Series to be an undefeated year-end points champion.
In 2018, Blake won his first Champions Series year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.
In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Champions Series titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.
In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1,600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando.
Champions Series Tennis began in 2005 and over the last 16 years has featured some of the greatest names in men’s tennis, including Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Michael Chang among others. Courier won the first Champions Series Tennis event held in 2005 in Houston at the Westside Tennis Club.
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