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NEWS

With win, Sock continues strong start for Americans in Paris

May 28, 2013 04:28 PM
With his victory on Tuesday over Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Jack Sock became the latest in a host of young American players to advance to the second round at Roland Garros.
By Matt Cronin, special to USTA.com
 
PARIS – A number of promising U.S. men broke into the Roland Garros draw. But in Day 3 of the French Open, it was the youngest of the group, 20-year-old Jack Sock, who scored the biggest win, posting a 6-2, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round.
 
Sock’s victory has continued a strong start for Americans in Paris. Other first-round winners on the men’s side thus far include No. 18 seed Sam Querrey, No. 19 John Isner and Sock’s fellow up-and-comer, Ryan Harrison. In fact, Sock next faces No. 12 seed Tommy Haas, with the winner of that match to face the winner of Isner and Harrison in the third round.
 
The U.S. women have also excelled, with top seed Serena Williams leading a cadre of Americans into the second round, a group that includes No. 29 seed Varvara Lepchenko and fellow veterans Vania King and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, rising stars like No. 17 Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, and young 20-somethings Mallory Burdette, Melanie Oudin and Shelby Rogers.
 
Sock, the 2010 US Open junior champion, has shown flashes of elite potential in the past two years, winning the 2011 US Open mixed doubles with Oudin and advancing to the third round at the 2012 US Open.
 
Sock, who is now solely being coached by USTA Player Development, had a rough start to this year’s clay-court season, winning one match in Houston and then dropping his next five. But he’s been a different player in Paris, racing through three matches in qualifying and stomping the veteran Spaniard yesterday with a vicious all-court attack. 
 
Sock had lost to Garcia-Lopez from just two weeks ago at the Bordeaux Challenger, but he got on top of the ball early, serving big, throwing in kickers and dictating with his forehand.
 
"First time competing over here in Europe, so I was definitely excited coming over here to play," said Sock, who also won the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships in 2010 and 2011. "I love playing on clay, so I was even more excited coming out here and competing. The results have been up and down, but I thought I have been competing very well so I think it was kind of time to come out and able to show it."
 
The last touted American man 20 or younger make a splash at Roland Garros was Andy Roddick in 2001, when he upset former champion Michael Chang. Two years and three months later Roddick went on to the win the US Open.
 
While it’s impossible to project at this point whether Sock as that type of potential, he does hit the ball as hard any young player out there, and at a solid 6-feet-1, he has the size and strength to be able to match up with the big boys, too.
 
Plus, even though he had rarely played on red clay before, he likes to slide and race around on the dirt.
 
"Where I grew up, I didn't play a whole lot on it, but I loved playing on it when I did," the Nebraska native said. "Coming over here and playing on the real stuff has been great. I feel comfortable on it and confident on it, and hopefully I can keep it going. I feel like I can move well on the clay. So if I need to get into a longer rally, I can. Beyond the big points, I'm definitely trying to just use my weapons and play my game and be the aggressor. But if I need to, I can kind of grind a little bit."
 
Sock made the move to USTA Player Development after working with Swedish coach Joakim Nystrom for parts of the previous two seasons, training under USTA coaches Craig Boynton and Jay Berger, who traveled to Europe with a young group of American guys including Sock, Steve Johnson, Rhyne Williams and Denis Kudla.
 
"I like working with them both a lot and look forward to keep working with them," he said of his new coaches, and adding of the group of young American men: "We all are cheering for each other in the matches. Sure, we're competitive at times, but we all want to see each other do well and we want to try to bring American tennis back."
 
New and Notes: Sock has sketched the initials "AR" and "BB" on his shoes in honor of two of his friends from the juniors, Alex Rovello and Brian Boyd, who recently died in car crashes. "Just [tough] to see someone go that soon," he said. … Off the court, Sock hasn't exactly taken to fine Parisian cuisine yet, saying that he has gone to the Mexican food chain Chipotle six or seven out of 10 nights he's been in Paris.
 
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To learn more about up-and-coming U.S. players and to receive the latest US Open news and information, as well as exclusive merchandise offers to the US Open Shop, sign up to become a US Open Insider.
 
And for more Pro Tennis coverage, including coverage of Americans at the 2013 French Open, go to the USTA.com Pro Tennis page.
 
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