Indian Wells Challenger: Sock Remains In Vintage Form

INDIAN WELLS, March 8, 2020

Saturday’s singles semi-finals at the Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells featured an all-US-American line-up, with USC Trojan legend Steve Johnson taking the win 6-4, 6-4 over Mitchell Krueger and Jack Sock winning a tight one over teenager Brandon Nakashima.

Johnson capitalized on both of his two break point chances to prevail after one hour and 22 minutes.

“I thought I played the break points well today and that’s been a big improvement for me. I’m excited to play another match out here and see what I can do,” said Johnson, who only dropped one set en route to the title match.

“I always enjoy being out here in the desert and competing. Being a Southern California guy, I consider Indian Wells my home tournament and it’s long been my favorite spot to play throughout the year.”

Sock battles into final

Later on Stadium 5, former World No. 8 Sock struck 12 aces and won 78 per cent of his first-service points to secure a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 victory over Nakashima in two hours and 12 minutes.

Sock will appear in his first ATP Challenger Tour final since finishing runner-up to Nick Kyrgios in Savannah 2014. The 27-year-old from Kansas City could clinch his third Challenger career title, his first since his triumph on home soil in Winnetka 2013.

Johnson is seeking his seventh Challenger career trophy, his second of the season. The World No. 30-year-old of California took the title down under in Bendigo in January.

Sock leads the pair’s head-to-head record 4-3. Johnson, however, won the last two meetings.

On Court 16, Denis Kudla and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski claimed their maiden team title at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The wild card entries emerged victorious from the all-US-American doubles final with Sebastian Korda and Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 2-6, 10-6. The encounter lasted one hour and two minutes.