Jack Sock Stuns Kevin Anderson To Set Up A Auckland Showdown With David Ferrer - UBITENNIS
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Jack Sock Stuns Kevin Anderson To Set Up A Auckland Showdown With David Ferrer

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Jack Sock during the 2016 ASB Classic (image via photosport.nz)

World No.26 Jack Sock recovered from a first set hammering to defeat third seed Kevin Anderson 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.

 

The American suffered back-to-back breaks during the first set to allow the world No.12 to cruise to take the opener after only 29 minutes of action. It was a routine opening set for Anderson, who produced seven aces and won 80% of his service points (16/20).

After dropping the opening set, Sock was still under attack from Anderson during the early stages of the second set. During the fifth game the third seed had a chance to break to extend his lead to a set and a break before Sock successfully saved it. Anderson’s inability to convert that breakpoint went back to haunt him at the end of the middle set. Trailing 4-5, the South African was leading 40-0 in his service game before Sock clawed his way back to 40-40 with the help of some Anderson unforced errors. The decline in Anderson’s form occurred at the worst time as sock ease to his first set point. After failing to convert the first, he was triumphant on his second thanks to another costly error from the third seed.

After taking the match into a decider, a rejuvenated Sock was outstanding in his service games throughout the third set. The American won 92% of his first service points and 100% of his second. In contrast Anderson posted an almost impressive first serve percentage (87%) but only claimed 50% of his second. As nine games went according to serve, Anderson was forced to serve to stay in the match. Identical to the second set, the world No.12 came undone at the worst possible moment to allow Sock to take advantage. The American failed on his first attempt to take the match before he was handed another opportunity thanks to an unforced error from his opponent. It was second time lucky for the American after a sharp return forced Anderson to hit the ball out.

After his triumph over Anderson, Sock shared an unusual celebration with the crowd. Usually when a player is triumphant they might give away their racket or sweatband. On the other hand, the American has instead decided to give out socks to fans to coincide with his surname.

“We were talking about it in warm-up today,” Sock said.
“Jo (Jo-Wilfred Tsonga) has got his thing, a few people have their own things. I think with such a unique name that I have, we figured I might start a new tradition and give a sock away if I win.”

If the 23-year-old wants to give away more socks in Auckland, he will have to overcome top seed David Ferrer in the semifinals. Ferrer spent 83 minutes on the court during his 6-3, 6-4, win over Czech Republic’s Lukas Rosol. The world No.8 fended off four break points and won 72% of his service points.

The top seed will play in the last four in Auckland for the fifth consecutive year. Shortly after clinching his quarterfinal win, the Spaniard said that he is improving every day.

“It was a good, I am playing well and better than the first day,” The top seed said.
“I hope I’m improving every day with my game and now I’m in the semifinal.”

The world No.8 also spoke about how he maintains his advantage in matches against players with big weapons such as a fast serve.

“Being consistent is my game and it’s very important for me,” he said.
“To be focussed on every point and try to play aggressive with my forehand. But most important is my concentration on the match and trying to be focussed point by point.”

The other semifinal will be between second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut. Tsonga endured a two close sets before edging out Fabio Fognini 7-5, 7-6(4). Meanwhile Bautista Agut required an hour and 43 minutes to overcome former champion John Isner (7-5,2-6,6-3).

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Frances Tiafoe And Jack Sock Ready To Rain On Federer’s Parade At Laver Cup

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Frances Tiafoe describes his first match at this year’s Laver Cup as ‘iconic’ but he is determined to seal victory with doubles partner Jack Sock. 

 

Tiafoe, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open earlier this month, will feature in what will be the final match of Roger Federer’s illustrious career. The Swiss maestro has announced that the team competition will be the last event he will play before retiring from the sport at the age of 41. Federer will partner up with long-time rival Rafael Nadal in what promises to be an emotional encounter for all involved on Friday evening. 

“It’s going to be iconic to be part of that,” Tiafoe told reporters in London. “Both guys are absolute legends, and obviously Roger’s last dance. We are definitely just out there trying to get a win.”

Looking at the wider picture, Tiafoe knows a win in the doubles could prove vital in team World’s bid to win the Laver Cup for the first time in history. Whilst on paper his achievements are overshadowed by those he faces, his current form gives him the edge. Federer hasn’t played a match since Wimbledon last year due to a knee injury. Furthermore, Nadal is still trying to get back to his best shape following an abdominal injury and was beaten by Tiafoe at the US Open. 

“This is a special night. I just think me and Jack are just looking for a special night, come out there, have fun,” he continued. “The crowd is obviously going to be for them. You understand that kind of moment, and just go out there and do your part and just try to get a win. It’s going to be a special night tomorrow. I’m just happy I get the opportunity to do it with Jack.”

Sock, who has won three Grand Slam titles during his career, echoes Tiafoe’s desire to seal victory over the two tennis giants. 

“I’m just stoked to be a part of it with my guy Foe (Tiafoe),” he said. 
“We will go out and enjoy the moment, but not going to hold anything back. Sorry, Roger. Don’t want to spoil the night.”

Federer’s final match at The O2 Arena in London is set to take place in front of a sellout crowd. Following his retirement announcement, ticket sales for the three-day event have exploded. Ace Odds have reported a 4020% rise in demand for tickets with prices starting from £900. An extraordinary outcome considering the most expensive ticket for the Laver Cup was originally £510. 

The doubles match involving Federer, Nadal, Tiafoe and Sock is estimated to start around 20:20 BST on Friday. 

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