Sock continues rise with run to French Open second week

Jack Sock is ushering in a new era of men’s professional tennis in the United States.

Already firmly established as an incredible doubles player (won Wimbledon in 2014 and is seeded second with Vasek Pospisil at the French Open) and touted as talented but unproven in singles, Sock’s ascension is reaching new heights this fortnight at Roland Garros.

After upsetting Grigor Dimitrov in the first round then taking out Pablo Carreno Busta in his second match, Sock made quick work of fellow up-and-comer Borna Coric on Saturday. The 22-year-old American cruised 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 while losing a mere 18 points in 13 service games.
“It was a good day for me,” Sock assured. “I was fortunate enough to play great tennis. I usually feel pretty good when I’m hitting a lot of forehands–especially from the left side of the court–and able to move the ball around and dictate play. I was able to do that today fortunately.”

“He just played way too good today,” Coric said of his opponent. “He was serving too big. His forehands were very heavy and I was struggling to cope with that. I couldn’t stay close to the [baseline]. He was just playing too good.”

Although younger Americans such as Frances Tiafoe (got a wild card into the French Open), Jared Donaldson, and Stefan Kozlov have shown signs of future promise, Sock is already here–and probably here to stay. The Nebraska native had already reached round three of a Grand Slam on three occasions (U.S. Open 2012, U.S. Open 2013, French Open 2014). Already this season he made it to the last 16 in Indian Wells and captured his first ATP title in Houston.

Sock will climb to a projected career-high of No. 31 in the world after the French Open even if he loses his next match. Top-ranked American John Isner will be no higher than 18th when the next rankings come out. Sam Querrey, currently No. 38, is third in the USA pecking order. Sock, who has only 300 points after the French to defend until October, will crack the top 25 if he continues his run into the quarterfinals.

In order to do that, Sock will have to defeat none other than nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal on Monday. Nadal booked his spot in the last 16 by trouncing Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday. Hoping to emerge from a season-long slump in time for title No. 10 in Paris, the seventh-ranked Spaniard turned in an encouraging week one. Prior to disposing of Kuznetsov, Nadal beat Quentin Halys 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 and Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

This will be the first-ever meeting between Sock and Nadal. Sock has played only one member of the “Big 4” (lost to Roger Federer 6-3, 6-2 earlier this year in Indian Wells).

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