By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sam Querrey's first victory over Andy Murray in five attempts has embellished the big-serving American's impressive credentials and marked him out as a likely top-10 player in the future.
Only top-ranked Spaniard Rafa Nadal, with five, has won more tournaments on the circuit this year although Querrey is the sole player to have triumphed on three different surfaces.
Long regarded as the brightest young American prospect with his booming serves and crunching forehands, the six-foot six Californian regarded his first success against Murray as a significant milestone.
"It feels great to finally get a win over him because I really hadn't had a close match with him before this," Querrey told reporters after saving a match point in the second set before going on to triumph.
"So it's nice to get that. Now I have the belief that if I can play him again I can maybe win or if I play another top-10 guy.
"Winning definitely gives you a lot of confidence, whether it's professional or in the juniors or in the collegiate," added the world number 20.
"The more you win, the better you're playing and the more confidence you have. I definitely think this will help me win some bigger matches going forward."
"This feels great," Querrey said. "This is maybe the best I've ever felt. I'm really happy, really ecstatic. Hopefully it will be a great start to the summer.
Last year Querrey enjoyed his best season on tour with a win-loss record of 41-23, despite his campaign being cut short in September when a glass table he was sitting at collapsed and nearly severed a nerve in his serving arm.
However, subsequent surgery and rehabilitation led to a full recovery and he is now the third-highest American in the rankings, after world number nine Roddick and his good friend John Isner (19th).
"I'm proud of the way I've turned it around since then," said Querrey, who will be playing in this week's Washington Classic. "I'm taking baby steps forward and hopefully, I'll keep going up.
"The next step is the Masters Series and the grand slam events. This tournament is a great stepping stone for those."
(Editing by Patrick Johnston)