RICHARD EVANS REPORTS FOR 10SBALLS • JACK SOCK DEFEATS KRAJINOVIC TO WIN ROLEX PARIS MASTERS TITLE

Written by: on 5th November 2017
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Rolex Paris Masters 2017 Tennis Tournament
RICHARD EVANS REPORTS FOR 10SBALLS • JACK SOCK DEFEATS KRAJINOVIC TO WIN ROLEX PARIS MASTERS TITLE

epa06310333 Jack Sock of USA poses with his trophy after winning the singles final match against Filip Krajinovic of Serbia at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 05 November 2017. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON  |

They both said it. “This has been a week I will never forget.” Nor should they because, at the Rolex Paris Masters, Jack Sock and Filip Krajinovic lifted themselves to higher levels of achievement than either had ever experienced before.

Krajinovic, the 25 year-old Serb ranked No 77 on the ATP computer, had needed to qualify for the main draw. Sock, ranked 22 but seeded 16th because of the forced withdrawal of high ranked players, was languishing in 24th place for the race for the eight man field at the ATP World Finals in London. Long shot? It redefined the term.

A whole series of unlikely happenings were required for Sock to climb that steep ladder but happen they did. Juan Martin del Potro, who had been in fine form, was favorite to beat John Isner in the quarter finals. But Isner, the previous year’s finalist at Bercy, bucked those odds 6-4 in the third, which left Pablo Carreno Busta clinging onto 8th place for London. The only obstacle in his path?. A Sock win. And Sock won.

The only life line now for the tall Spaniard lies with the fitness of his great compatriot, Rafa Nadal. If the knee injury which caused him to default here in Paris to Krajinovic at the quarter final stage prevents Rafa from playing in London, Pablo, in then out, will be back in again, happy if a little confused.

Filip Krajinovic of Serbia reacts during his singles final match against Jack Sock of the USA at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 05 November 2017. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

There was nothing confusing about Sock’s 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Krajinovic. Despite the Serb’s first set fight back from 2-4, he had no answers to Jack’s ability to pull off terrific passing shots on the run – two backhands and one forehand – all of them on either break point or game point.

It’s that top spun forehand that makes him such a dangerous opponent. Only Nadal gets more rotation on the ball and, in addition, as opponents will tell you, the direction is very difficult to pick. Just handling the spin is bad enough, but if you have trouble with the direction as well, the attempted return will be still born.

Once Sock emerged triumphant from a duel of high quality to win the second set, the die was cast. The 16,000 Bercy crowd had adopted the Serbian newcomer as their own through the week but Sock took that in his stride and finally began to control the match.

It was an impressive performance because, despite the fact that Krajinovic has been battling the after effects of surgery to shoulder and wrist for most of his career, Filip is a serious player who can be expected to reach many more ATP finals in the future.

Sock should take a step up, too, from his new-found status as a Top Ten player. He may need a few days to digest it all as he finds himself involved in numerous publicity events that will be going on by the banks of the Thames for the ATP World Finals but in the meantime, he can only reflect on the best week of his career.

“Considering how close I was to going out in my first match against Kyle Edmund, I find it amazing,” he said. “So many things had to kick in for me to make London and reach the Top Ten – and it all happened so fast.”

That’s what a week in Paris can do for you. La Vie en Rose.

 

Jack Sock of the USA reacts after winning his singles final match against Filip Krajinovic of Serbia at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 05 November 2017. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

 

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