Blue Valley North graduate Jack Sock captured the ASB Classic title Saturday, defeating Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
The victory gave Sock his second singles title on the ATP World Tour and will lift him into the top 20 of the world rankings for the first time in his career when the Australian Open begins on Monday. Sock will jump from No. 23 to No. 20 in the Emirates ATP rankings. He will be the 23rd seed in the Australian Open and face Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round.
In his previous meeting against the No. 44-ranked Sousa, the 24-year-old Sock lost on clay in Madrid last May.
Sock, whose previous ATP singles title came in April 2015 in Houston, had an easier time with Sousa in New Zealand.
In becoming the first American to win the Auckland title since John Isner in 2014, Sock broke in the first set and pulled away in the third set for the victory.
As he prepares for tennis’ first major of the year, Sock will root for his hometown Chiefs to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday’s AFC divisional round playoff.
“24-21 Chiefs,” Sock predicted. “Key is the homefield advantage!”