A Couple Of Firsts For Sock

BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells

[5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. [18] Jack Sock (USA)

Sock has had the more difficult path to this encounter having played three-three set matches to get here, so perhaps that gave a slight advantage to Nishikori.  However, if Sock could do it again it would get him to his first Masters 1000 semifinal, a huge motivating factor.  Sock came out sharp and Nishikori came out flat, before he could gather his thoughts, the first set was over; yet, we can expect Nishikori to fight back and he did.  He took the second set 6-2 after Sock had an unexpected dip in his concentration.  This is the new and improved Sock and he was not going away without a fight either.  He had a lot of time to regroup when Nishikori took his customary off court break between the second and third sets.


If we ignore the second set, it was a top-notch performance from Sock reminding us of how talented he is when he puts his mind to it.  He showed off his skills in every department.  He kept Nishikori pinned to the back court with the depth of his shots and just kept applying the pressure with his attacking forehand, which rattled Nishikori. He was relentless, which prevented Nishikori from getting comfortable and resulted in him being broken twice in the third set. The pressure was all on Sock in the end, he was the one with the most to gain: his first top five victory and his first Masters 1000 semifinal appearance were at stake. Sock showed that he can maintain his cool mentally and served it out without a glitch to win 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.  Unfortunately, his next opponent is Roger Federer, who has a 2:0 advantage over him.  Can Sock change that stat?


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