London | Sock shocks Zverev
Outsider Jack Sock shocked “choking” Alexander Zverev 6-4 1-6 6-4 to seal a semi-final date against Grigor Dimitrov at the ATP Finals.
And when asked if he felt he could go all the way insisted: “Why not? I think Grigor has really kind of found his game. But I’m playing with a lot of confidence. Coming off winning in Paris (at the Masters), winning my matches here and getting into the semi-final. You never know what can happen.”
I mean, (he) can't even legally drink a beer in the U.S. and he's three in the world, playing like he is. I don't know. It could be nerves. It could be other things. Jack Sock
The American No.1 – the first player from his country to make the last four since Andy Roddick ten years ago – confessed he didn’t even know he could qualify when he arrived in the French capital.
And the eighth seed reckons that ignorance has helped ease any pressure.
The 25-year-old from Nebraska, like Roddick, said: “Obviously when you sneak into the eighth spot the week before, three days before the event starts, it definitely takes some nerves away.
“I’m coming here playing my style of tennis, having fun, hitting some stupid shots that work sometimes. But just enjoying the time for sure and really having a good time. Yeah, I definitely think it’s helping me.”
Sock held his nerve and produced tactics which proved there was more to his game than a big forehand. He threw in backhand slices against the 6ft.6in Zverev, along with a few volleys.
Zverev, 20, battled back in the second set. He got an early break to lead 2-0 and stormed on to take it.
Sock built up a 4-1 lead in the deciding set. But his German opponent roared back to level it and Sock appeared rattled as he was deducted a point for belting a ball in the air for a second time. Yet the American regained his composure to complete victory.
Zverev, 20, confessed he had “choked” in the final set.
He said: “I choked. It’s quite easy. Won the second set 6-1. I was 1-0 with a break. He got a point penalty. I was down 1-4 within 10 minutes where I didn’t put many balls in the court. .
“It’s been an awesome year. Still, the end of the year was absolute crap for me. If I would have played the whole year like I did, by the end of the year I don’t think I would have finished top 50.
“That’s a bit unfortunate for me. But that’s okay. I’m going to go on holidays now. I’m definitely going to enjoy that. Then I’m going to work hard in the off-season.”
Sock had sympathy with Zverev on the chocking issue. He said: “It’s tough. The guy is 20 years old. He’s played some absolutely outstanding tennis in his career. I mean, can’t even legally drink a beer in the U.S. and he’s three in the world, playing like he is. I don’t know. It could be nerves. It could be other things. ”