Sam Querrey holds the winner's trophy after defeating Ricardas Berankis… (Frederic J. Brown / AFP /…)
Sam Querrey dominated to win Sunday's final at the Farmers Classic, beating Ricardas Berankis, 6-0, 6-2, at UCLA's L.A. Tennis Center to put him back in familiar territory after last year's disappointment.
The 24-year-old from Thousand Oaks missed the opportunity to win a third consecutive tournament title in 2011 after suffering a career-threatening elbow injury, but spectators were treated to the Querrey of old Sunday.
Querrey made quick work of Berankis in the 19-minute first set, as the Lithuanian mustered just nine points while committing 11 unforced errors in the set. While Berankis was aided by a strong backhand leading up to the final, the shot was not there Sunday. It was the first 6-0 set in an ATP final in the last 46 tours.
With Querrey's third career Farmers Classic title, he joins Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors and Andre Agassi as the only three-time winners in the tournament's 86-year history. He broke Connors' 30-year tournament record by dropping only two games in the final match.
"It feels pretty good," said Querrey on joining the group of tennis legends. "They've gone on to do some pretty amazing things, so to be mentioned with them here is pretty special."
Berankis became the first qualifier to reach the final since 2009, when Carsten Ball lost to Querrey.
Querrey used his height advantage — he is 6 feet 6 compared to the 5-8 Berankis — to control the match with powerful serves and forehands. Although Berankis said he didn't think about the height difference on the court, he did admit nerves played a role in the match.
"In the first set I didn't play as I wanted to play," Berankis said. "But even though I was nervous, I enjoyed my first ATP tournament final."
Berankis made the second set interesting. With Querrey leading, 4-2, Berankis nearly broke a game, but Querrey — who has not lost in the Farmers Classic since 2007 — eventually won the game and broke Berankis a game later to clinch the championship.
"When you're up 6-0, 3-0, he's such a good player that you know you're not just going to cruise three more games," Querrey said. "I knew there would be some tough moments, and fortunately I came up with some big serves and got through it."
With the Farmers Classic and seemingly the elbow injury behind him, Querrey's focus shifts to trying to climb the world rankings by playing well the rest of the summer. The 57th-ranked player hopes to reach the top 32 before the U.S. Open to be seeded for the Grand Slam tournament. He said he eventually wants to return to the top 20, a spot he held until the injury a year and a half ago.