474 days on from his last singles win on the ATP Tour, Jack Sock has finally returned back to the winner’s circle at the Delray Beach Open.
The 27-year-old former top 10 player knocked out defending champion Radu Albot 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2), after more than two hours of action. Coming back from a 2-4 deficit in the third set and then saving a match point before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Throughout the match, the American won 74% of his first service points and broke his rival three times to secure a milestone victory in his career.
”It’s been a tough couple of years, especially last year with not even playing that much. I was pretty close to not playing the sport anymore, so it means a lot,” Sock told reporters after his win. “Without the people in my corner, I probably wouldn’t be here. Thanks to them for keeping my belief up, my positivity up, because I didn’t have a whole lot there for awhile.”
Hampered by a thumb injury during the majority of 2019, Sock hasn’t won a singles match on the ATP Tour since November 2018. As a consequence, he is now unranked on the tour and relied on a wild card pass to get into the tournament. In the immediate aftermath of his victory over Albot, an emotional Sock began to cry on court as he paid tribute to the crowd.
“That was amazing, especially for a week night early in the tournament,” he said. “The was a massive factor in pulling that out for sure.”
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 19, 2020
Next up for Sock will be compatriot Steve Johnson, who is an occasional doubles partner of his. Together they won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Johnson booked his place in the last 16 of the tournament by defeating Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen 7-6(5), 6-4.
”He’s a good friend. I’ve known him for a long time and we know each other like the back of our hands,” the 2017 champion said of his next opponent. “I’ll have a game plan and I’ll try to go out and execute it, but I think I can play free now that I have a win finally.”
Sock has been ranked as high as 8th in the world back in 2017, which was the year where he won his first and only Masters 1000 title in Paris. Overall, he has won four ATP titles.