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10sBalls Shares Ricky’s Preview & Pick • Zverev vs. Sock @ Nitto ATP World Tour Finals In London

Alexander Zverev of Germany in action against Roger Federer of Switzerland during their round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, Britain, 14 November 2017. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER



By Ricky Dimon
It might as well be a quarterfinal match when Alexander Zverev and Jack Sock square off at the end of Group B round-robin competition at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday night. Both players are 1-1 through two outings, and whoever improves to 2-1 will finish second in the group behind Roger Federer.This will be their third career meeting after they split a pair of 2016 encounters. Zverev coasted 6-4, 6-2 in Beijing before Sock earned revenge via a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 decision on the indoor hard courts of Stockholm a couple of weeks later.


Sock’s 2016 fall swing included a runner-up finish in Stockholm and quarterfinal showings at each Masters 1000 event in Shanghai and Paris. It goes without saying that Sock loves this time of year, even though he is not playing in the friendly confines of the USA. The world No. 9 is debuting at the WTF thanks to his miracle title run at the Rolex Paris Masters two weeks ago. Prior to that event, Sock was not even in the realistic London discussion.


But the 25-year-old clearly is not satisfied with merely making an improbable appearance at the O2 Arena. He is making the most of it. Sock tested Federer in a 6-4, 7-6(4) defeat on Sunday before outlasting Marin Cilic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) in his second round-robin match.


“I’m not the type of guy that will just enter a draw and be happy to make the third round or the quarters or whatever,” the American explained. “I’m here to win matches. Not only here, but all tournaments. I think if I do the right things and I play the right tennis, I can give myself a chance to play on the weekend of any tournament.”


Zverev has turned in similar results: a three-set victory over Cilic in which he also battled back from a break down in the third, and two competitive sets against Federer (Zverev won second but collapsed in the third and lost 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-1). The 20-year-old German is now 55-21 in 2017 with five titles–including two of the Masters 1000 variety in Rome and Montreal.


“I think I still have great chances of qualifying, playing Jack Sock next,” Zverev noted. “I think if I continue having this level, I don’t know, maybe you’ll see me on the weekend still.”


Not too much unlike Dominic Thiem, however, Zverev appears to be wearing down at the end of a long season. He is just 9-8 in 17 matches since upsetting Federer in the Montreal final, and his third set against the Swiss is cause for concern. Sock, on the other hand, is riding high after his Paris success and the recent win over Cilic gives him even more momentum.


If Sock seed can dictate with his forehand and come up with enough solid backhands in the pressure-packed situations like he did against Cilic, his impressive end to the year may continue.

Pick: Sock in 3


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Editors Pick: Alexander in straight sets (2)

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