Jack Sock rode a rollercoaster on Monday evening at the Dallas Open. For the American, the up-and-down ride took him into the second round.
The former World No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings battled past Ilya Ivashka 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-4 after three hours and four minutes of topsy-turvy tennis. Sock saved 15 of the 18 break points he faced to move on and earn a clash with top seed Taylor Fritz.
“That’s why I put in the work right there the past few months,” Sock said. “For anybody that follows [me] obviously I didn’t go down to Australia, so I did about a three-month offseason to get my body right, get everything dialed in and give this sport another good run.
“I’ve had a tough couple years and it’s been fun grinding my way back. These matches are what makes it worth it to keep going and this one feels great. I’m excited to move on.”
The wild card appeared in firm control of the match when he led 3-0 in the third set and earned three break points to extend his advantage. But suddenly it was Ivashka with the momentum, levelling the set at 3-3 before positioning himself to move ahead by a service break.
But Sock remained calm on Stadium Court to defeat the man who eliminated him 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of qualifying at last year’s Western & Southern Open. The home favourite won two less points than his opponent (116-118) and struck 10 double faults, but he also hit nine aces and claimed 75 per cent of points behind his first delivery.
It will be a Dallas Open rematch for Fritz and Sock, who also met in the second round in Texas one year ago. On that occasion, Fritz triumphed 6-1, 6-4 to take a 3-2 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.