WASHINGTON, November 5, 2017 (by Michael Dickens)
Who could have predicted that in a week full of surprises and upsets, Jack Sock would be the last American man standing in Paris? By winning the Paris Rolex Masters with an impressive come-from-behind 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 victory over qualifier Filip Krajinovic on Sunday, the 25-year-old Sock became the last to reach the Elite Eight singles field, who will play for the Nitto ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London later this month.
Indeed, it’s quite an accomplishment – insane as it might seem to some – that thanks to winning his first Masters title, the tall, bearded Sock is going to the ATP Finals in London. His victory lifted him into the Top 10. When the new Emirates ATP Rankings are released on Monday, Sock will achieve a new career-high ranking of No. 9.
Sock, who began the week ranked No. 22 in the world and No. 24 in the “Race to London,” became the first American ATP Finals qualifier since Mardy Fish in 2011, the first American ATP Masters 1000 champion since Andy Roddick won Miami in 2010, and the first American to reach the ATP Top 10 since John Isner in 2014. Indeed, his unlikely triumph in Paris started a chain reaction of firsts.
What kind of a week has it been for the Nebraska born and Kansas raised Sock? Not a bad one at all when you consider that the 16th-seeded Sock was down 1-5 in the third set to No. 50 Kyle Edmund in his first match of the tournament on Wednesday before rebounding for a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) victory. Then, he strung together wins over Lucas Pouille, Fernando Verdasco and Julian Benneteau en route to Sunday’s final against Krajinovic.
At a set apiece and 1-all in the final set, from 30-30, Sock got an early break thanks to a lunging backhand winner followed by a superb forehand passing shot on the run. He backed it up by breaking Krajinovic in each of the Serbian’s next two service games to secure the winner’s trophy and a ticket to London. It was Sock’s third ATP title of 2017. This year, he also won the ASB Classic in Auckland and the Delray Beach Open in Florida, both outdoor events.
“Jack Sock’s big week in Paris is going to earn him some big paydays and we’re not just talking prize money,” tweeted Christopher Clarey, tennis columnist for The New York Times, shortly after Sock’s victory. Indeed, besides earning 1,000 rankings points and first-prize money of 853,430 euros, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sock’s Nike profile (Nike is Sock’s clothing sponsor) receive a nice boost in exposure – at least here in the United States.
“There have been a lot of firsts,” said Sock, during the on-court trophy ceremony. “It started at the French Open with my first fourth round of a Slam. Now, I’ve won my first Masters 1000 in Paris. This will be my first time in the Top 10 and this will be the first time making the year-end finals. So, there’s a lot going on right now emotionally – and I can’t wait to enjoy it all with my team.”
About the author:
Michael Dickens is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance journalist who writes and blogs about tennis.