Jack Sock, the former Blue Valley North star who never lost a set in high school, advanced to his first career ATP World Tour singles final Saturday at the U.S. Clay Court Tennis Championships in Houston.
Sock advanced by defeating South African Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.
Sock has beaten two opponents ranked in the top 20 in the same tournament for the first time in his career: He defeated No. 15 Bautista Agut in the second round, and Anderson is No. 16. Sock has three wins against top-20 opponents this year, matching his total from 2014.
“I feel like if I’m able to play more and more throughout the tournament, my tennis gets better,” Sock said. “In those first few matches, if you can get through them, you get confidence and the feel for the courts. I was feeling very good out there today.”
Never miss a local story.
Sock converted on just one of nine break points against Anderson, but he fired seven aces and won 77 percent of the points he served on.
“I really enjoy playing on clay,” Sock said. “I thought it gave me a little more time today against such a big server and big hitter. I served pretty well today, was holding pretty comfortably throughout the match.
“I was able to scrap out a few more points in the second set to get the break and that was enough.”
Sock will meet Sam Querry for the tournament title on Sunday afternoon. Querry beat defending champion Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.
Sock will try and become the first American to win his first career ATP World Tour title on clay since fellow Nebraska native Andy Roddick, who won on April 29, 2001 in Atlanta.
Sock entered this event ranked No. 46 in the world. He finished high school with four state titles and an 80-0 record.
Things have only gotten better for him since.
Sock and Canadian Vasek Pospisil teamed up to win the Wimbledon men’s doubles championship last summer. Last week, they reached the final of the Miami Open after claiming the championship in Indian Wells, Calif.
Today, Sock is heralded as the potential future of American men’s tennis. After Sunday afternoon, perhaps he’ll be regarded as its present.
20-year-old Keys makes WTA final
Madison Keys reached the final of the WTA’s Family Circle Cup with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Lucie Hradecka on Saturday in Charleston, S.C.
Keys, 20, will be tested in today’s championship match by fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber, who beat German Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4 in the other semifinal.