Jack Sock: stuns world number 3
Everything was pointing against American Jack Sock on Thursday night at the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
After winning the first set against World No. 3 Alexander Zverev, the American had disappeared in the second, losing it in only 28 minutes. To start the decider, Sock had fallen behind a break and received a point penalty for smashing a ball off the court.
Zverev stepped up to the service line leading 1-0, 15/0 and with all the momentum at his back. The match looked as if it’d be over in minutes.
Yet Sock, just as he did earlier this month at the Rolex Paris Masters, came back from near-certain defeat and will now play in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. The eighth seed pulled off the upset 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 at The O2 in London to become the first American to reach the final weekend of the season since Andy Roddick in 2007 (l. to Ferrer).
“That was a roller coaster match, for sure,” Sock said.
Sock finishes second in Group Boris Becker, behind group winner Roger Federer, and will face Grigor Dimitrov, who won Group Pete Sampras, on Saturday.
Sock leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-1, including a three-set fight earlier this year at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in which Sock saved four match points, including three consecutive, to advance.
In the earlier match, Roger Federer went through round-robin play at the ATP Finals undefeated for the 10th time as he returned to haunt Marin Cilic with a 6-7(5) 6-4 6-1 win at the O2 Arena on Thursday.
Six-times champion Federer had booked his place in the semi-finals with victory over German Alexander Zverev but any notion that he would coast through his final group match proved wide off the mark.
Cilic, eliminated after two three-set losses, was hoping to end his year on a high in the city where his Wimbledon dream was ended in this year’s final by Federer – the Croatian sobbing on court after suffering blisters.
The world number five survived four break points in the opening set and played an impressive tie.
A stunning angled backhand volley at 5-5 gave him a set point and he crunched away a forehand winner, his 20th of a first set in which Federer’s frustration was clear.
Federer could have been excused for stepping off the gas but the 19-times grand slam champion went up a gear.
The second set was on serve until, at 4-5, Cilic netted a forehand to give Federer a set point which the Swiss converted.
A 100mph forehand service return gave Federer an early break in the decider and Cilic’s resistance crumbled quickly as Federer turned on the style to race to victory.
Federer has reached the last four in 14 out of 15 appearances in the year-end tournament and will face David Goffin or Dominic Thiem for a place in the final.
Cilic’s career record is now 1-8 at the ATP Finals.