Sock's on cloud nine after Paris Masters victory
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“It was a good Sunday, that’s for sure,” beamed Jack Sock as he reflected on his success in the final at the Paris Masters in which he had come from a set down to win his first Masters title. The victory catapulted the 25-year-old American into the top 10 for the first time - at number nine.
It also furnished him with a debut at the season ending championships in London.
Sock shrugged off a tentative start on Sunday to overpower Filip Krajinovic 5-7 6-4 6-1 and claim the crown on centre court at the AccorHotels Arena at Bercy.
Considered as the most prestigious tournaments on the circuit after the seven round Grand Slam events in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York, the six rounds at the nine Masters series offer 1,000 ranking points to the winner and 500 points to the loser.
Sock’s surge to the title allowed him to surpass Pablo Carreno and take the eighth and final place in the field for the elite season finale which starts at the O2 Arena in east London on 12 November.
Krajinovic, who began the Paris tournament ranked 77th in the world, will rise to number 33 following his week of giant killing in south-east Paris.
“When the last point ended and I knew I had won, a lot of things went through my mind,” said Sock. “There were a lot of things on my mind before the final and to be able to achieve them … I’m going to try to enjoy them one at a time.”
Although Sock finished powerfully, it was the 25-year-old Serbian qualifier who drew first blood in the contest when he broke to lead 4-2. But he immediately lost his advantage. It was level pegging until Sock served to take the set into a tiebreak.
The 16th seed ceded the opener after two forehand errors. But he made immediate amends by winning Krajinovic’s opening service game of the second set and holding his own for a 2-0 lead.
The American served for a 5-1 lead but squandered the chance with sloppy shots to drop his own serve and he was equally errant in the next game as Krajinovic came back to 4-3.
Sock regrouped though and closed out the second set 6-4.
The match swung around two sumptuous passing shots at 1-1 in the decider. A backhand cross court at full strech set up a break point and a forehand pass down the line on the run secured the break.
After such pyrotechnics, the question was could Sock maintain the energy? He held for 3-1 and with more vim about his backhand ground strokes, the forehand menace mounted.
It pulverised Krajinovic into timidity where earlier he was assurance incarnate. The errors – especially on the forehand wing - increased and the third set whirled into a rout.
Krajinovic conceded the strains of his week had caught up with him. “I played two matches in the qualifiers and the second of them was three sets.
“I played three sets against Nicolas Mahut in the last 16 and three sets in the semi-final against John Isner. It was also quite emotionally exhausting but I can only be happy about what I’ve done.”
Sock too was a picture of delight. The new world number nine said he would go to London with nothing to lose.
“Coming into the Paris Masters I had no idea that I could even make it to London. It wasn’t in my head. I just wanted to play some good tennis and then go and start my off-season.
"But to be Paris Masters champion and achieve so many firsts for me is incredible.”