Coming into the 2011 French Open, Bay Area-born Sam Querrey was on a mission just a little unlike that of the rest of the tournament. You'll often hear people say that they refuse to overlook a lower-ranked (or unranked) opponent, but they still almost always discuss aspirations to win the Grand Slam.
Not Sam Querrey. No, the 28th-ranked player in the world was simply looking for one win. He wasn't thinking about winning the French Open and he certainly wasn't concerned with potential second round opponents on the draw. Querrey just wanted to get in the win column after starting his Roland Garros career winless at 0-4. He started off in 2007, and through 2010, was bounced out in his first match every time. It really was a case of just wanting to get over that hump and get his first win.
Aside from a stumble here and there, Querrey made it through unscathed, beating his first-round opponent Philipp Kohlschreiber. The final score for that matchup was 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. As you can see, Querrey did not start off so hot, dropping the first set to the dynamic German. Kohlschreiber served better than the generally hard-serving Querrey, despite his height at only 5'11'', and showcased great movement around the court to take that first set. But Querrey turned it up in the second set and was on cruise control throughout the rest of the match, nailing big shot after big shot, which the 42nd ranked Kohlschreiber couldn't keep up with.
So he got that first win, he's on the board. What now?
Now he moves on to round two, with the new goal of evening up his French Open record, but standing in his way of getting closer to that is the former world number three Croatian Ivan Ljubicic. Querrey actually entered his first round matchup against Kohlschreiber, and one doesn't even need to check the lines to know that Ljubicic will be favored over the American. Querrey is simply not having a great 2011, posting only two clay court wins this season (one being the aforementioned match against Kohlschreiber).
Ljubicic isn't having a great season either, and his play in the opening round was ugly, yet it still felt like domination over Somdev Devvarman. Right now, he's favored because he's done well in the French Open in the past, as he was a season six semifinalst and has reached the third round in four of the past five years. But Querrey's first round win could be just what he needs to get his 2011 back on track after a stellar 2010, and he does hold the most recent victory in the head-to-head against Ljubicic, winning in straight sets at Wimbledon in 2009.
Querrey got the monkey off his back in regards to winning at the French Open, but his 2011 has been shaky at best, and if he doesn't beat Ljubicic, he will likely see his ranking slide even further than it has.