If Stockholm, Sweden
[CR32] Jack Sock (USA) vs. [CR60] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)
They met once before, earlier this year, it was on clay and it was a battle. Three sets went to a tiebreak, before Sock won the match in four sets. Therefore, Sock expected a challenge today. Yet, this was hard court and the odds favored Sock. Sock appeared to be in control, not needing a tiebreak and winning the first set 6-3. He served for the match in the second set and that’s when things unraveled a bit for Sock and he was forced into a tiebreak. Fitness is always a concern for many players, but some just seem to be more prone to cramps. Although it is a lack of physical conditioning, it can be exacerbated by one’s emotional state. Sock plays with a lot of intensity and passion and sometimes that can be more physically taxing than a twenty shot rally. The damage is cumulative the longer the match takes; thus, his physical fitness is somewhat questionable in longer matches and those played in adverse conditions.
It was not a particularly long match, but he was as usual passionate and he lost his focus and was completely blind-sided in the tiebreak, managing to win only one point. I was concerned that he would go away mentally as he has had a tendency to do on several occasions. After he failed to serve out the match and lost the tiebreak, Sock did a good job compartmentalizing his emotions. He was frustrated but he showed maturity when recovered his composure and focus to finish the match emphatically in the third. Carreno Busta is never an easy opponent and he really made Sock work once again to earn the victory. This was perhaps an unnecessary challenge; nevertheless, Sock will be happy he won 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-3. Next up for him will be the veteran and still dangerous Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco. Will Sock get by Verdasco to the quarterfinals?